Alex Albon is convinced it will not be the end of the world if Williams miss out on seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship, with AlphaTauri set to come out swinging at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Having held seventh place for such much of the F1 2023 season, Williams find themselves just seven points ahead of the Red Bull junior team ahead of this weekend’s season finale.
Williams missed a chance to finish the battle at last weekend’s Las Vegas GP, where Albon and team-mate Logan Sargeant slipped out of the points after securing a third-row lockout in qualifying.
Will Williams resist AlphaTauri charge to keep seventh?
Additional reporting by Thomas Maher
Meanwhile, AlphaTauri have scored points at three of the last four races since introducing a major upgrade package in Austin. The team have brought a new floor to Yas Marina in one last attempt to pip Williams to seventh, with AlphaTauri expecting big things from the latest update.
Although the outcome of the battle is to have financial implications for both teams, Albon is relaxed about the weekend ahead – and believes Williams have put the pieces in place for a prosperous future regardless of where they end up in the final standings.
Asked if finishing seventh would have a wider impact on Williams beyond finance, he told media including PlanetF1.com’s Thomas Maher in Abu Dhabi: “Money talks, cash talks, but generally no.
“I don’t think we missed an opportunity in Vegas, I don’t think points were really on the cards on Sunday. There was a hope and desire to try and score points last weekend, to try and take that pressure and that possibility away from this weekend, but because we [didn’t] score points the possibility is still very much real.
“In terms of finishing P7 or P8, we can say it doesn’t really affect us, but of course we’re racers, everyone’s a racer in the team, we all care about what position we finish. “That walk into the pit lane is a little bit too long at the minute and one position already makes a difference, so let’s see.
It will help the team. It will speed up the development of the team as well. At the minute, [Williams owners] Dorilton do put the cash in and it will benefit everyone if they had to put in a bit less!
“So there’s a big drive and a big want this weekend to finish in P7. It’s clearly our number-one priority coming into the weekend.
“But at the same time, we’re pretty self-confident in ourselves that we’ve done the right thing. We stopped our [2023 car] development a long time [ago] now.
“And if we lose out for what we’re focusing on next year, it’s not going to be a kicking-yourself moment. I do think we’re going to see the rewards next year.”
AlphaTauri chief executive Peter Bayer is enthusiastic about the team’s chances of overhauling Williams, likening the team’s new floor – set to inform the development of the 2024 car – to a joker card.
He told Motorsport.com: “Everyone’s motivated to chase down Williams to the line and we have a big upgrade coming for Abu Dhabi, which we hope will give us the missing tenths to fight for some top positions.
“The original strategic goal was 2024, but because we’ve put ourselves into this situation now, it comes in handy, so to say that we have another little joker in the back pocket.
“First of all it needs to work, but the data we’ve seen from CFD and the wind tunnel is very promising and will help us to find more. It’s all about balance, aerodynamic efficiency and rear downforce.”