In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365, Alexander Albon explains what he wants to achieve at Williams in the coming Formula 1 seasons. His experience at Red Bull is crucial to his plans.
Interview To news overview © XPB
After a year as a test and reserve driver for Red Bull in 2021, the team he briefly drove for in Formula 1, Alexander Albon moved to Williams for the ’22 campaign.
With no place available at either Red Bull owned concern, Albon was eased into a seat at Williams – but still carries Red Bull branding on his helmet at the wheel of the Mercedes-powered machine – although he hints this won’t be for long.
Not now he has a multi-year contract with Williams in his pocket – the sole benefactor of his attention.
He is intent on guiding Williams back up the F1 grid and into midfield respectability.
“Williams can do better, much better,” he explains in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.
“If you look at the races where we’ve scored points [Australia, Miami, Belgium], we’ve really maximized [our potential.]
“At the other races, you see P11, P12, P13, always somewhere around there.
“Realistically, though, those results come about via DNFs [of other drivers] or by consistent driving and good work [on our side.]
“Compared to last year, I think we are starting in about the same position. What is the case now, however, is that Haas and Alfa Romeo have a bit more pace than they had last year.
“I think we are doing well. take advantage of the teams that are struggling: that will take us to Q2 or that will take us to a points finish. But of course we want more.”
How Albon has learnt from Verstappen
His former Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen is known as a driver who likes a sharp, on-the-nose car with which he can rotate the rear.
Albon is cast from the same mould, and believes his knowledge of working with a now-World Champion can only be beneficial for Williams as it seeks to eliminate the understeer that plagues the new-breed of 2022 cars.
“We basically have the same thing,” he explains.
“These [now 18-inch] tyres are bigger and more air is moved around them aerodynamically – and then there’s also the problem with the floor design.
“We still struggle at low speed, especially compared to the top teams.
“We know exactly what we want: we want more grip at the front. At low speed more [grip] at the front and in high speed [corners] a little more grip at the rear, that’s the goal.”
“But we’re a bit limited in our options at the moment and, like with Max, you want more grip at the front so you can really get all the performance out of the car.
“That’s what we want, and we see it there if we find the right balance.
“It’s not easy, you drive a lot more at the limit, because the cars have the most downforce in the world,” he continues.
“The experience at Red Bull helps, because I now understand what a car needs to go fast: A good feeling at the front is always good, but it’s the overall feeling that should be nice.
“It allows me to know which direction to go with the set-up.
“I have already had to use that experience and gained a lot this year.”
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Despite his hopes of dialing out the understeer in this year’s car, attention will be turning to next year’s design and a second go at designing ground effects machinery.
And the London-born Thai expects “others will do something different” in their new designs.
As for Williams, he doesn’t expect a similar path – seeing as the team has already ditched its launch concept – similar to the Mercedes zero-side-pod approach for a Red Bull-inspired one.
“Compared to the beginning of the year, you can see that we have already changed direction, we are focusing on our own project and I think we have done well, although of course we are also looking at others,” he explains.
“The design of our car is also kind of a hybrid of a few cars from the top teams, so we’ve already made that step.
“It’s given us a good foundation to build on.
“If you look at our car compared to some of the others, it seems, I don’t want to say simple, but you can see we’re making strides forward – others have not yet made that step. Mercedes for example are still using their Barcelona set-up.”
Albon was speaking to RacingNews365.com before he was ruled out of the Italian Grand Prix with appendicitis.
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