Alex Albon given ‘peace of mind’ with new Williams contract extension

Henry Valantine
Alex Albon waves to the crowd at the Australian GP. Melbourne April 2022.

Alex Albon has said his new multi-year Williams contract has given him “peace of mind” over his medium-term Formula 1 future.

Williams announced on Wednesday that Albon’s time with them will extend into “2023 and beyond”, having impressed team boss Jost Capito and performed solidly all season, having largely out-performed team-mate Nicholas Latifi this year.

The Red Bull-affiliated driver had been given permission by the team to move to Williams for the year ahead, after Sergio Perez had been confirmed as Max Verstappen’s partner for 2022.

The Mexican has since signed a further two-year contract with Red Bull, with Albon, who dropped into a test and reserve role at the team last year, now free to take a place at Williams on a longer-term basis.

Albon himself said previously that his self-confidence is high while driving the FW44, and he hopes to carry that on into next season, with the “peace of mind” that a multi-year deal offers.

“So it’s been a good year this year,” Albon said to the Williams website upon the announcement.

“We’ve wanted more, but this is the goal [pointing to the team’s trophy cabinet] and that’s what we’re going for.

“It’s nice to have some peace of mind. Obviously going forwards about my career and then to be with Williams obviously.

“We’ve had a really good start to the season, really enjoyed my time… and yeah, you know, I’m really happy for the future.

“For the rest of the season, we’ll keep our heads down. We’re going to focus on maximising the car and doing the best job we can, but to know that it goes beyond that is very exciting.”

What next for Williams and Alex Albon?

It’s a move that suits both parties, and Red Bull, down to the ground. Albon has performed well on his Formula 1 return, Williams have themselves a proven driver in the car and Red Bull no longer have a headache surrounding whether or not to bring him back to the senior team or AlphaTauri.

It has not yet been confirmed whether or not Albon has been released by the Red Bull programme altogether, though it is now unlikely he will feature alongside Verstappen again – with Perez contracted until the end of 2024.

In terms of on-track performance, the obvious key thing for team and driver is for Williams to produce a car capable of fighting higher up the grid on a regular basis.

The FW44 has shown flashes of performance, with Albon contributing and taking full advantage with a mammoth 58-lap stint on one tyre in Australia to put himself in the points, before following that up with another top-10 finish in Miami.

The big unknown for now, though, is who will be partnering Albon next year.

Latifi is out of contract and speculation has swirled about him being replaced, with Williams junior driver Logan Sargeant looking increasingly competitive in Formula 2, Formula E World Champion Nyck de Vries still hunting for a Formula 1 seat, and the future of Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri now up in the air.

 

Several candidates for a Williams seat

Alex Albon is likely to stay at Williams, but could Logan Sargeant or Nyck de Vries be joining him?