Williams bracing for performance impact after string of crashes

© XPB 

Williams is bracing for a period of difficulty following the string of crashes it endured over the last two races and which is anticipated to have an unavoidable short-term impact on performance.

During opening practice in Melbourne, Alexander Albon's car sustained such severe damage that the team deemed the FW46’s tub irreparable on site.

In a controversial decision, the team opted to provide Albon with his teammate's chassis, resulting in Logan Sargeant sitting out the race.

Subsequently, during Friday's practice session at Suzuka last week, Sargeant suffered a heavy contact with the wall that forced Williams’ crews to burn the midnight oil.

But on race day, Albon was involved in another crash on the opening lap following a contact with RB’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Williams team boss James Vowles confirmed that repairs are underway on Albon's damaged chassis, but the bigger concern lies in the sheer volume of parts lost across both the Australian and Japanese races.

“It was a pretty major accident with Alex,” Vowles said in a video debrief after last weekend’s event.

“The car went into the tyre wall, the deceleration was fairly large. Fortunately, both Alex and Daniel were okay. Accidents like that could end up with an injury and we didn’t have that in that circumstance.

“In terms of the chassis itself, it would have been repairable trackside. However, we can do a far better job by sending it here back to the UK.

“It will be a lighter repair than what we would’ve been able to do there and a more complete repair as well. So there is damage, but nothing that we can’t repair and we’ll have the car back in China as a result.”

Williams team principal James Vowles.

While repairable, the extensive damage puts a strain on the team's resources. While a certain amount of part wear-and-tear is expected, the current rate far exceeds the team’s planned buffer.

“In terms of the accident damage itself, the more significant item is probably that across the last two races, we’ve lost a number of floors, a number of rear wings, a number of front wings,” he explained. “Suspension components, gearboxes have been impacted as well.

“This is a large, large list by any standard and it’s hard to keep up with the amount of spare quantities required at the same time as working as performance updates in the background.

“We always plan a certain amount of financial attrition from components, but clearly not in two weeks like it is now, but spread rather across the 24-race season.”

The team now faces a delicate balancing act – rebuilding their parts stockpile while still trying to compete effectively. The upcoming races could prove crucial for Williams' overall season performance as they navigate this period of limited resources.

“It will have an impact on what we do performance-wise later on in the year,” Vowles admitted.

“The performance components that we brought forward through hard work to Japan are unfortunately destroyed.

“So again, that puts us on the back foot for performance across the next few races while we build up stock of those again. So a little bit of a short-term, a little bit of a medium-term impact on where we are.”

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