Alex Albon admits that the Williams Formula 1 team did the “bare minimum” during the 2023 season to secure seventh place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Despite AlphaTauri’s late-season charge resulting in a fourth points finish in five races in Abu Dhabi, the Italian squad fell short of overhauling Williams by just three points.
While AlphaTauri committed to bringing new developments right up until the last round, Williams only introduced one upgrade package – at the Canadian Grand Prix in June – throughout the entire campaign.
Having ceased development on its FW45 challenger earlier than its rivals, Albon is optimistic that Williams’ decision to allocate resources to next season will pay dividends.
The Grove outfit’s future prospects have also been boosted by the recent arrival of the experienced Pat Fry, formerly of Alpine, into the position of Chief Technical Officer.
“I mean, time will tell, obviously, he’s just joined the team, and I think he’s getting up to speed very quickly,” Albon said regarding the addition of Fry this year. “I feel like he understands the areas we need to improve in as well, and he will offer that guidance and mentorship to the team.
“So I’m very excited to have him on board and I think, you know, we’ve sacrificed a lot this year to focus on next year’s car. We haven’t upgraded for much longer than our rivals. That can only be a good thing, I think.
“We did the bare minimum to finish P7, and now we’re eyes on to next year, obviously having Pat on I think this will be James’ [Vowles, Williams Team Principal] first proper year where he’s had true leadership in the development of the car, so let’s see.”
Despite recording its best Constructors’ placing since 2017, Williams struggled with a package that carried inherent weaknesses and possessed a narrow operating window.
The ex-Red Bull racer details that Williams must ensure it produces a more versatile car that can maintain its competitiveness regardless of the track layout or conditions.
“It’s strange because I think a lot of people think we’re very inconsistent, but I personally think the execution of each weekend has been very consistent,” Albon contended.
“The car itself is quite inconsistent. So, you know, we know Monza, Vegas are tracks that go well for us, we know cold tracks go well for us. We know hot tracks don’t work for us, we know windy tracks don’t work for us, we know tight tracks don’t work for us. Our car does have its moments, and it’s one of our biggest focuses next year is to stop these weaknesses in our car.
“But the execution has been very strong, I think, and we’ve made the most of our opportunities, so that’s why I believe we’ve been able to actually get P7.
“I think we’ve had the car to do it, we’ve made sure we scored the points, and I think others have either had a blunder with strategy or whatever it may have been, just to miss out on points.”
Reflecting on his own personal performance, Albon believes that his fourth season in F1 and his second since returning with Williams represented his “strongest” in the sport.
The Anglo-Thai driver accumulated all but one of Williams’ total haul of 28 points and also out-qualified rookie team-mate Logan Sargeant at each of the 22 rounds to be held.
“I’m very proud of my performance. I’m not the most arrogant person, I would say, but I will give myself credit. I feel like I have had a very strong season,” Albon said.
“Most of my races haven’t been simple. They’ve been races where we’ve been fighting, fighting the whole time. But I enjoy it. I feel like that’s the environment that I thrive in.
“For me, it’s been, I think I’ve said it before, but it’s been my strongest year in Formula One. That connection that I have with the team has really helped that. I feel like that’s where we’ve been able to execute the races we’ve done so well in.”