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Alex Albon on FW46: “We Know There’s Lap Time to Find”

“Very simply, we’ve got a better car than last year,” Albon told the media....

It’s been a rough start to the season for Alex Albon and Williams, though it seems to be, unfortunately, necessary for further development to be possible in the medium to long term.

The Bahrain GP was compromised by overheating issues as well as technical glitches in the steering wheel, while Saudi Arabia looked promising with Albon narrowly missing out on points in 11th.

The Thai/British driver was impressed by the FW48 in Saudi Arabia but acknowledges that while Williams have improved so have their competitors, particularly Haas.

“Very simply, we’ve got a better car than last year,” Albon told the media. “But so does everyone else. And I’d say Haas in general has been a bit more of a surprise package, they are more competitive.

“We know where our weaknesses are. We know there’s lap time to find. We know where the lap time is. Hopefully within the next six or seven races we can start finding that performance, and out-develop our rivals.

“We know there’s a good chunk of time in the car. We can’t access it right now. It’s a bit of a shame, because I think at least today [in Saudi Arabia] especially there was a chance to score points. We can do it.

“So let’s see for the next few races, hopefully we’re going to just chip away at it and get quicker and quicker.”

It might not be the start to 2024 Williams were hoping for, but the platform they have built is designed to be a well-rounded competitor rather than the slippery straight-line devil it was in 2023.

While last year’s car was competitive on certain circuits, it was all but useless on others. You won’t reach the top if you can’t compete at a majority of the tracks and so Williams have made the conscious decision to move away from relying on the straight-line speed it was capable of.

“We don’t have the straight-line speed like last year,” Albon confirmed. “So it’s actually really hard for us to overtake.

“I was quite surprised [in Saudi Arabia], I had to do all my overtaking in the corners, which is not normal for me! It was interesting. When the DRS train was there, it was impossible.

“And once it broke up, and I could attack a non-DRS car, it was fine, I could get through the field. It is frustrating, because we had better race pace – our pace was not bad.”

It’s essential for Williams to out-develop their rivals and find that extra bit of pace otherwise they risk falling backwards in a very tight midfield. Frankly, there is more at stake in the midfield than out front, and the margins are much smaller. To reach the top of the midfield will be a monumental task for any of them, but Williams have continuously improved since team principal, James Vowles, came on board and it stands to reason that improvement won’t stop now.

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