Albon: Improved Williams downforce a ‘good platform’

Michelle Foster
Alex Albon ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris. Austria July 2022

Completing his first grand prix in the updated FW44, Alex Albon felt the car definitely has “more downforce” but it is also “tricky” to drive in gusty conditions.

Williams introduced a heavily revised car at the British Grand Prix, the upgrades more in line with Red Bull’s design philosophy.

Albon was the only one of the team-mates to receive the updates due to a shortage of parts, but never got to race it as he was involved in the first lap crash.

The Austrian GP weekend was a better one as the driver came through the weekend unscathed, 12th in qualifying before losing positions in the sprint race and then recovering to P12 in the grand prix.

“We’ve got more downforce, that’s clear,” Albon told of the new parts.

“It is a little bit trickier to use in some places, especially at this circuit it was very tricky, with the wind changing. I don’t know how the others felt it, but it was a very tricky race to drive.

“But the way I see it is we’ve got the downforce, that’s the important bit, then it’s trying to get the balance into it.

“So we’ve got the rest of the season to do that. And we’ve got a good platform to start on, as I said, you just see it, it’s not the most intricate car in that sense. And we can build on that. It’s a good base.”

One obstacle Williams did face with the new car was nailing the set-up.

Only the second weekend running the upgrades, the Thai-British racer concedes the team still has a lot to learn about the upgraded package.

“You see the top teams are most probably confident in their base car, and then they’re just fine-tuning it, week on week on week,” he said.

“We’ve done quite a big change to the car, a different philosophy, which takes much more time to understand. It’s a little bit more of a reset.

“You see it with the other cars like Aston Martin, they’ve got a new package and they’re learning that, so there is obviously an element of where are we weak, where are we strong?

“Fortunately we got a full race under our belts so we can really pick the pieces out of the data and see where we’re struggling, and maybe the areas we need to improve.”

He added: “It’s our first proper full race with the new aero package. We will learn a lot from today, we’ll have a look at the data and really conclude where we’re strong, where we’re weak.

“Clearly [we’re] still missing a little bit, but we’re still getting to grips with the car, so it felt like almost a genuine debut outing for the car.

“We weren’t falling away from the pack. We got a little bit of blue flags, which dropped us away from the Haas and the McLarens. So we’re there, we’re not far away.”


Highlights from the Austrian Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc took his first win in eight races, and Ferrari definitely needed it.