Despite having lost his voice, Alex Albon was in a happy mood after taking the Williams FW45 for a drive for the first time on Monday.
After the team launched its livery for the 2023 season, Williams unveiled the first pictures of the ‘real’ FW45 in its current specification on social media before Albon took it for some initial laps around Silverstone in its first shakedown run.
Speaking to 2009 World Champion and Williams brand ambassador Jenson Button after his first try in his new machinery, Albon felt positive with what he felt behind the wheel.
“It feels pretty good actually,” he said on a Williams live stream. “You know how it is sometimes when you drive the car for the first time, it’s a little bit like ‘okay, we’ve got some work to do’, [but] today was a bit more, ‘you know what? This is a good baseline, we actually have a well-balanced car’.
“So the pace is the pace, but the feeling of the car is good.”
Button commented to Albon that he had noticed the Thai-British driver go through the first corner, Abbey, completely flat out on one of his opening laps in the car, before rushing down to look at the telemetry and noticed that he had done the same through the fearsome right-hander of Copse as well – a clear sign of confidence that the Williams driver had from the off.
He urged slight caution in case the team might not have the relative pace of others around them come testing and the first round of the season in Bahrain, but the 26-year-old feels Williams are on the right trajectory ahead of the new year.
Hitting the track for the first time! 💪
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) February 13, 2023
“I mean, I’m actually really happy. I feel like we’ve addressed some of the problems, it’s always a little bit of a ‘what if’, until you actually drive the real car,” Albon elaborated.
“I don’t want to speak too soon as well, maybe we’re not as good as we think we are, but we’re going in the right direction and that’s the main thing.
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“We’ve got a good baseline, a good platform now to go into Bahrain with and hopefully we can build on that and start adding some downforce.”
Albon’s new Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant took the wheel for the second part of the team’s permitted filming day at the Northamptonshire circuit, as the Grove-based team got their first laps under their belts ahead of the 2023 season.
Williams will be looking to pull themselves away from the bottom of the Constructors’ Championship this time around, after opting to stop upgrading their 2022 challenger early when it became clear they would not realistically catch the teams ahead, in order to put more development time into the FW45.