Albon: More chassis damage ‘exactly what we don’t need’

© XPB 

Alex Albon admits that concerns over the wellbeing of his Williams car were on his mind even before he hit the tyre barrier in Sunday’s Japanese GP, as more damage is “exactly what we don’t need”.

Albon clashed with RB’s Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap of the race after the Aussie drifted into the path of the Williams driver on the approach to Turn 3, leaving the latter with nowhere to go.

The contact saw both cars veer off course and into the tyre barrier on the outside of the corner.

Fortunately, both drivers emerged unscathed from the incident which triggered a red flag.

While the crashes occurred at relatively low speed, Albon was gripped with a bout of anxiety, fearing another damaged chassis for Williams.

Albon had severely damaged his monocoque in FP1 in Australia, which forced Williams to assign Logan Sargeant’s car to the Anglo-Thai racer and sideline the American for the remainder of the race weekend as the Grove-based outfit was without a spare chassis, a situation that will extend until next month’s Miami GP.

The damaged monocoque was repaired in time for this weekend’s race in Suzuka, but more broken hardware is not what Williams needs right now.

Asked if his team’s plight was on his mind after his crash, Albon said that concerns crept in as he was heading towards the wall!

"Immediately. Before I even hit the wall," he admitted. "It's exactly what we don't need.

“The impact itself was relatively low speeds, but it's the way that I hit the tyre wall. Normally, we have this kind of plastic barriers, the Armco. But this was much more dug in and it really stops very violently.


"They're the questions I'm worried about, not for me, [but] for the car, because that's where you can do damage.

"We haven't had the car back yet. We need to assess it, hopefully it's okay."

Unfortunately, a post-race inspection by Williams revealed the extent of the chassis’ damage. The latter will need to be sent back to the UK for repairs before it is shipped to Shanghai for the Chinese GP weekend in two weeks’ time.

Regarding his clash with Ricciardo, Albon assumed that he was in the Aussie’s blind spot amid the commotion as they approached Turn 3. There was little the Williams driver could do to protect himself from the contact.

"Obviously just one of them. He didn't see me, clearly. I tried to back out of it last minute,” Albon said.

"There was a moment where I realised he hadn't seen me here, the way he's pulling across, so I hit the brakes and tried to get out of it.

"But I was almost too far alongside him and he still was coming across, I couldn't avoid it."

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