Albon: Fighting for points ‘so much more exciting’ for Williams

© XPB 

Alex Albon says that having Williams fighting for points on a consistent basis in 2023 injected a sense of thrill into the Grove-based outfit, boosting its motivation and hunger at every level.

In Albon's first season with Williams, he was determined to prove his worth to the team, eager to reignite his passion for Formula 1 after a year away.

But 2023 was a different story altogether – it was about leading the outfit, embracing the challenge, and fighting for points with unwavering determination.

Williams’ first campaign under the leadership of team boss James Boss saw it immersed in a constant battle for position, every race a nail-biting affair where every point counts.

Although it hasn’t been easy, the team’s relentless pursuit of excellence injected a surge of adrenaline into every team member’s life, transforming a routine into an exhilarating adventure.

Read also:

“I feel pretty proud of the races we have had this year,” Albon told at the end of the season.

“In retrospect looking at the year how it unfolded, I’d say maybe Melbourne was a bit of a disappointing race [Albon crashed while running sixth] – it was an opportunity that I missed – but if you take that one away, it feels like every chance we’ve had to score points, we have taken it.

“It’s not been easy, we’ve had to have our elbows out for most of it. I think that’s partly why we’ve been able to be in a position where we are ahead of the midfield, as we’ve been able to score points at most opportunities – which I think the others just missed out on.”

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW45 on the grid. 09.07.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, British Grand Prix, Silverstone, England, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

On a personal level, Albon's technical feedback has improved significantly with his increasing experience, allowing his detailed insights to properly identify areas for improvement and optimize the car's setup.

This has been particularly important in 2023, as Williams’ FW45 car has shown a distinctive performance pattern – formidable top speed but less agile in corners. This has led to clear distinctions between tracks where points are achievable and those where luck plays a significant role.

To succeed, Williams needed to deliver when it counted, and Albon consistently stepped up to the challenge. His leadership, coupled with his driving prowess, has propelled the team forward, solidifying his position as a team leader.

“It [becoming team leader] kind of just happens, it’s not a case of putting your hand up and saying, ‘I’m the leader now’,” he said.

“Having a rookie as a team mate, it naturally means there’s a bit more responsibility on your side of the garage in terms of the development of the car, but also the set-up windows, and testing items on the car as well. I’ve enjoyed it.

“Last year for me was a bit more about having to prove myself and try and show people I belong here and it was the right decision to take me.

“Coming into this year, I felt like I had done that last year – I proved what I can do. This year it was more about getting this team up the field – working with James, working with the whole team, figuring out how we can get the points finishes.”

Albon's positive attitude has spread throughout the Williams team, fostering a sense of optimism, and lifting morale to heights not witnessed in years, surpassing the bleak days of languishing at the back of the pack.

With Albon leading the charge, Williams is back in the fight for points, a testament to their collective determination and the infectious spirit that now fuels their every endeavor.

“There’s a huge element that we’re all racers, we’re all competitive,” commented the Anglo-Thai driver.

“It doesn’t matter what area of the factory you work in. To go into every weekend knowing there is a fight for points, it’s so much more exciting than last year.

“A lot of people who are working from last year’s car to this year’s car, [when] a great result for us where we executed everything perfectly was P15 or P16 – it’s hard to get motivated by. You go into the next weekend and it’s the same thing again.

“Once you’re in the championship hunt and you’re fighting for these points, the thrill is great, there’s so much motivation and hunger in that.”

Albon's contract binds him to the British team until the end of 2024. There have been rumors of Ferrari taking a keen interest in the 27-year-old while a return to Red Bull Racing has also been mentioned.

But if Williams sustains its current trajectory, Albon suggests that he would gladly extend his stay.

“Right now, I feel like we are on the up. There’s no question about that. I’m there at the factory, doing a lot of the work in the simulator for next year’s car.

“I see the progress, I see the hunger, and the culture changing in the team. The gap to the front, being truthful, is still big. We still have a lot of work ahead of us.

“Of course I want to bring this team up there, I want to be a part of that journey, but time will tell. I won’t be there when I’m 40 years old and still chugging along, saying 'next year will be the one!'

“But at the same time, I do see the direction the team is heading in. I’ve got time on my hands, I want to see how it unfolds, and that’s it really. I do feel valued in this team, I do enjoy working here – so yeah.”

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter