Williams ‘without doubt’ hit with double side effect after Alex Albon chassis write-off

Henry Valantine
Alex Albon, Williams, 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Alex Albon heavily damaged his Williams in first practice in Melbourne.

With the repairs required to Alex Albon’s chassis, Williams team principal James Vowles admitted it will “without doubt” hit their upgrade plans.

Albon’s crash in FP1 in Melbourne caused an estimated £500,000 worth of damage to his chassis, which wiped out one car from the team for the rest of the weekend in Australia. In the cost cap era of Formula 1, the money spent on repairs will need to come out of other areas.

Williams will ‘without doubt’ have upgrades hit by Alex Albon crash

Vowles admitted that it’s “simply unacceptable” that the team did not have a third chassis present in Australia, but the focus on making two higher-performing cars in the first instance in 2024 took precedence alongside the continued infrastructure improvements at Williams.

Repairs are underway back at the team’s Grove base, but in a time where overall spending is limited across the year, Vowles explained that the team will see their upgrade schedule affected by the damage inflicted at Albert Park.

“Without doubt, it will do,” Vowles admitted to media in Melbourne when asked if the team’s upgrade plans will be hit as a result of Albon’s impact.

“No team plans to not have a third chassis, not in modern day Formula 1.

“The last time I had that was in 2009 [with Brawn GP]. That’s the last time I didn’t have three cars, and we got lucky that year, we could easily have lost the championship as a result of losing a car, you don’t plan to do that.

“It’s simply unacceptable to not have two of your cars out on track next to each other fighting.

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“In the case of what we are doing at the moment. The reason why it’s come about, though, is because we are on the back foot with everything.

“As we try and move through processing systems and transformation, something’s being pushed out the back. And in this case, it’s the third chassis.

“So that also means that, as we go through now, we have updates planned and other items planned, but I’m having to divert the entire workforce and getting this chassis in a good state, without losing the momentum we have on the third chassis and on updates, something will give – there’s no doubt about it.”

Work is already apace at Williams’ base looking to fix Albon’s car in time for the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend, and Vowles believes that, while he could not give full certainty, it’s likely that both cars will be back in the paddock at Suzuka.

“What I can tell you is based on the evidence that we have so far, and the work was completed overnight, everything looks completely feasible,” he said in Melbourne of the repair work required.

“I’ve seen chassis in worse states come back from this. 100% is a difficult number to give you and as a statistics man, I wouldn’t say 100%, but I would say you are at a very high probability it would all be fine.”

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