First Williams chassis damage update as ‘three major accidents’ have huge impact

Thomas Maher
Alex Albon, Williams, 2024 Japanese Grand Prix.

Alex Albon was involved in a collision with Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap at Suzuka.

James Vowles has revealed the recent spate of Williams crashes has resulted in most of their updated parts being destroyed.

Both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant were involved in hefty crashes during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend, adding to their recent woes following Albon crashing his car and damaging the chassis in Australia.

James Vowles: Alex Albon mentally frustrated, but physically fine

Albon was involved in a collision with RB’s Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap at Suzuka, with the Australian driver moving across on the Williams as he failed to notice Albon creeping up around the outside of Turn 3.

The collision resulted in both drivers ending up going off and crashing into the barriers, where their weekends ended.

The stewards investigated the incident, but ruled against taking action against Ricciardo as they decreed it a first-lap racing incident.

Speaking to F1TV afterward, Williams’ team boss James Vowles said Albon had been left frustrated by the incident that prevented him from going racing.

“I just sat with him for a little bit inside the catering facility,” he said.

“He’s obviously mentally frustrated by what happened, but physically he’s fine and that’s the most important to me, that both Daniel and him walked away.

“It’s a big shunt, there’s a lot of damage from it, but he is okay in as much as no damage to him.”

Vowles confirmed to Australian publication Speedcafe that the chassis will be sent back to Grove for repairs before being shipped out again to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix.

It’s a race against time, given the crash happened during the race rather than the earlier timing of Albon’s crash in practice in Australia.

Vowles told F1TV that the recent spate of crashes has been very difficult for Williams, given the fact that they only have two chassis with the production of a third delayed as a result of the Australia crash.

Albon’s car now needing repairs after Suzuka means the spare chassis timeline could yet be pushed out once again.

“It looks like a little bit of damage again on the front-right, complete coincidence obviously, but let’s see how bad it is when we get the… it looks like it’s repairable to me, but that was through images taken,” Vowles said.

“The last two weeks have been tough. I think any team to have three major accidents where you’ve pretty much taken out all equipment on the car is enormous.

“Taking that across a season, you can deal with it, taking it across just a few races is difficult. The impact of it will be what you expect.

“We’re making spares as quickly as possible in the background but, ultimately, performance will have an impact on it, we can’t bring as many updates. The updates that were on the car unfortunately are broken, so we’ve got to build those stocks back up and get going again.” recommends

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James Vowles: Updated components ‘pretty much gone’

Having rolled out updated parts to the Williams, Vowles said the three crashes across two race weekends have all but decimated the stock of components that had been manufactured.

“Hopefully, we can recycle some of those bits, but no, they’re pretty much gone,” he said.

“I think the main thing is this… one of the huge strengths of this organisation is resilience, it’s been through so much across the last 10 years, we’re going to pick ourselves up and get going again.

“What I’m encouraged by is Logan, in that race, was fighting forward against other competitors around him, same age tyres and overtaking them. That just gives me encouragement that the race package we have isn’t bad.

“We weren’t there in Melbourne but, here, we were there or thereabouts. It’s incredibly tight, all the way from basically RB, from us to Alpine – there’s nothing between those teams. The encouragement I take is that we’re going to pick ourselves back up, come to China, and come back swinging.”

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