Alex Albon keeps Williams exit door open with F1 future a hot topic

Oliver Harden
Alex Albon getting ready on the grid. Britain July 2023

Williams driver Alex Albon getting ready on the grid. Britain July 2023

Alex Albon has refused to close the door on a potential move away from Williams, insisting he is “not afraid” of landing another chance with a front-running F1 team. 

Albon received his big break in F1 when he was promoted to Red Bull as Max Verstappen’s team-mate halfway through his debut season in 2019.

Despite claiming two podium finishes in the shortened 2020 campaign, the Thai driver was demoted to a reserve role to make way for Sergio Perez after struggling for pace and consistency alongside Verstappen.

Alex Albon open to leaving Williams?

Albon has since rebuilt his career at Williams, registering a trio of points finishes last season before adding three more – including a fine drive to seventh in Canada – in the first 12 races of 2023.

The 27-year-old’s performances alongside rookie team-mate Logan Sargeant have seen Albon linked with other teams, with Italian publication Corriere dello Sport reporting last month that Ferrari had identified him as Carlos Sainz’s replacement when the Spaniard’s contract expires at the end of 2024.

It has been suggested elsewhere, meanwhile, that Albon’s nationality could help him find a way back into the Red Bull system with the energy drink part-Thai owned.

Albon feels he is now a much-improved driver compared to his previous Red Bull stint and would be ready to represent a leading team.

He told The Race: “You back yourself. I’m more experienced. I feel like I’m a much better driver than I was when I had the first opportunity at a top team. In that way, I’m not afraid of that at all.

“The focus is on Williams and making sure we bring this team up to the front. And then let’s see what happens.

“I want to go forward and the team wants to progress, I’m sure the team also in some ways understands if there is another avenue to go down, they wouldn’t hold me back for a long time.”

Seventh in the Constructors’ Championship with 10 races remaining, Williams have enjoyed their most competitive season in years in 2023 with Albon responsible for all 11 of the team’s points so far and ahead of the likes of Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas in the Drivers’ standings.

Albon is content to remain at Williams as long as the team continue to improve but, as he approaches his peak years, has insisted his overriding ambition is still to win races. recommends

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He added: “You say I’m young, but I’m not young! I’m actually 27. Which sounds young! In an F1 context it’s not that young. It’s actually near to my peak.

“I would say there’s a good balance between you driving at your best and the experience and the knowledge you have. You’ve got to weigh that up with how I’m fully invested in this team in terms of bringing this team up forwards.

“It is a longer-term contract. So as long as the progress is there, then this is going to be a long-term thing.

“But at the same time, you have to also realise, I do feel like I’m driving at my best, I do think I have more to give. I still want to score podiums, I still want to win races.

“My focus is on making sure Williams is that team. But beyond that, if for whatever reason it does become difficult, you do naturally have to look elsewhere.”

Albon also revealed that James Vowles, who replaced Jost Capito as team principal last winter, has made a conscious effort to build the new-look Williams team around him as lead driver.

“I do feel like I’m doing more boots-on-the-ground stuff than just driving,” he explained.

“So in that sense I do feel like James is almost using me a bit more than previously in my time in Toro Rosso, Red Bull and my first year at Williams. I am getting involved more in those kinds of conversations to bring this team forward.”

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