Williams worried if they don’t get ’10ths’ out of Canadian upgrade, it hasn’t ‘delivered’

Michelle Foster
The race number of Alex Albon on the Williams FW45. February 2023.

The #23 of Alex Albon emblazoned on the launch version of the Williams FW45. February 2023.

Bringing a heavily revised FW45 to the Canadian Grand Prix, but only for Alex Albon, Williams team boss James Vowles concedes if it doesn’t bring “tenths” to the table then it hasn’t delivered.

With Albon all but begging for upgrades after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix weekend, Williams answered with an extensive new package hitting the track in Montreal. The team, though, only had enough parts for Albon with Logan Sargeant stuck with the old spec car.

Needing as much track time as possible to run their back-to-back tests, Williams were disappointed when FP1 was red-flagged over a CCTV issue after just a handful of laps but F1 then made the call to extend the day’s second session.

There Albon covered 33 laps with a best time that was 1.3s off the pace while Sargeant, with 38 laps on the board, was four-tenths down on his team-mate.

Vowles was asked about the gap and what he felt the upgrade should be worth.

“It’s an interesting question because often the theoretical doesn’t tie with reality,” he admitted to F1TV.

“Also Canada isn’t a track like all others, it’s actually has very specific properties that will suit this track, but not to others.

“But any update you see now this magnitude, you’re looking at a few tenths. If you’re not getting a few tenths out of it, the package isn’t quite delivery on what it needs to do.”

Albon, it seems, did get that few tenths.

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Going through the list of the upgrades Williams brought to the Canadian GP, Vowles explained: “It’s large for an upgrade. Even if you look up and down the grid people wouldn’t normally bring this amount to a car.

“It’s fairly normal to bring a floor, maybe a front wing, but to bring basically near enough every contact surface that has air flowing through it…

“The front wing hasn’t changed but the Halo has, the upper body work has, the sidepods have, the rear wing endplates have, the rear suspension has, as well large amounts of work with suspension.

“That’s not normal, but it’s just to give you an idea of at least the significance of the update.”

But while only Albon is running the upgraded package this weekend, Williams intend putting it on Sargeant’s car by the British GP at the latest.

“Timeline for that will be Silverstone by the latest,” said Vowles. “It just really depends on how we get on this weekend, subject to the amount of spares that we have in the background.”