Alex Albon grades Williams’ F1 season so far following arrival from Mercedes

Alex Albon is pleased with the progress Williams has made in the 2023 F1 season after the team finished bottom of the constructors’ championship last year. F1 veteran Albon, 27, has been Williams’ sole points winner this season, bringing 21 points to the table, placing the Grove-based team up to seventh.

Williams’ straight-line speed, in particular, has caught the eye, which has seen Albon fight for points consistently since Canada in June. “It’s gone pretty well,” Albon exclusively told the Daily Express Sport US on Williams’ season so far, ahead of Sunday’s Suzuka race.

“I’ve got to say that the car has improved a lot as well so it goes hand-in-hand. The car is there to be driven well if that makes sense. It feels like we’ve made such a big step as a team and I don’t think I’ve changed so much in my driving, but the results are better because the car’s in a better place. So far so good.

“I have to say, just making progress as well, for a team like us Williams, that’s really our main objective and we’re certainly doing that. We’re one of the teams who have made the most progress so I’d give us an A.”

Williams’ rise up the rankings goes hand-in-hand with James Vowles’ arrival from Mercedes ahead of the 2023 campaign. Vowles has over two decades worth of experience in F1, with 12 of those years coming at the Silver Arrows. He was part of a Mercedes team that won eight consecutive constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles.

Albon says the arrival of Vowles as Williams’ new team principal was a much-needed confidence boost. His experience from Mercedes is taking Williams’ performance to a new level across the board. Albon added: “There’s been a shift, for sure. The experience he has from Mercedes has gone down really well.

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“As a team that finished tenth in the Constructors last year, to be able to have that experience and the knowledge from a team that’s won multiple championships means a lot, especially because in some areas it’s a direction that we can go down, and learn from. And in other ways, it’s a confidence boost to know that we are doing things just as well as Mercedes, it’s just trying to get the other areas where we’re lacking, and we can only improve.

“I think James has clearly got a vision; he knows the areas where we need a bit of work. He also knows the areas where he can leave people alone, and departments alone when he knows really good stuff is being done.”

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A seventh-placed finish in the constructors’ championship would see Williams receive a significant boost in prize money. Albon says his team cannot afford to take their eye off the ball and they must continue bringing upgrades, with Haas, Alfa Romeo, and AlphaTauri all in hot pursuit.

“I think we can’t really take our foot off the gas as our main goal is to finish seventh in the Constructors Championship,” Albon said. “There’s a lot more prize money in that compared to eighth, ninth, and tenth. We’ve got three teams hot on our tail bringing upgrades and we’ve got to try and stay ahead of them – that’s quite a tough ask. We’ve seen it in the last race, one of our competitors, AlphaTauri, had quite a substantial upgrade. So, it’s not going to be easy and for us to stay ahead we’re going to have to score more points, we can’t do the second half of the season without any points.”

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