Williams want to see ‘too nice’ Alex Albon develop his ruthless streak

Henry Valantine
Alex Albon, Williams, at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Williams' Alex Albon at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Williams technical director François-Xavier Demaison has called on Alex Albon to “push” the team more, as he’s “sometimes too nice” with them.

Albon has made a successful return to Formula 1 with Williams, proving to be dominant against Nicholas Latifi throughout 2022 and earning points for the team with the odds against them in a car which has generally lacked performance compared to the midfield.

The former Red Bull driver is known as a polite character within the paddock and he has been praised for how he has been able to help Williams progress in 2022, following a year on the sidelines as Red Bull’s reserve driver.

He now has a multi-year agreement to continue with Williams beyond next season, with American rookie Logan Sargeant having been announced as his new team-mate for next year, but his team’s technical director hopes to see a bit more steel come into Albon’s debriefs coming into 2023.

“It was a really good help for us, because we are only engineers and we need drivers to give us a direction. Because of his experience, it’s helped us and given us the right direction,” Demaison told reporters about Albon’s impact at the team.

“He’s a nice person – sometimes too nice. He needs to be a bit more hard with the team and push us a bit more, but I’m working on this.

“It’s his nature – unless he has the helmet on, then he can be hard – but he should be a bit harder in the debrief.

“Every day I tell him, ‘You have to be a…’ – a word I will not pronounce! If you want to be a World Champion, you have to be like this.”

Alex Albon adamant ‘fiery side’ is within him

In an interview he gave to the BBC earlier in the year, Albon himself doubts the opinion that he is “too nice” to succeed, saying that he is a very different person when the visor goes down and he’s in wheel-to-wheel combat.

“The general public get me wrong,” he said back in October. “They think I’m this happy-go-lucky kid constantly and that I’m not hungry, maybe too nice.

“They will never see the fiery side because they don’t have a headset. They don’t listen to me when I’m driving.

“I’m naturally quite happy. I love what I do. It’s the reason why I wanted to be in F1 so much. And I felt like I’ve learned to enjoy it and relax. But you definitely need a fiery side if you want to be in F1.”

Read more: Mercedes predict they will be back in ‘very strong place’ with 2023 car