Albon forced to bottle up frustrations over heavy Williams

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A frustrated Alex Albon says he had to bite his lip and downplay the limitations of Williams’ F1 car as the team worked on a solution to the FW46’s overweight problem.

The early stages of the 2024 season haven't been kind to Williams, with results failing to reflect the Grove-based outfit’s genuine progress.

Production delays plagued the team during the off-season, resulting in a car that was considerably overweight.

But even after shedding 14kg during the run-up to pre-season testing, the FW46 remained a hefty beast, costing its drivers an estimated four to five tenths of a second per lap.

A revised floor and other lightweight components implemented on Albon’s car further addressed the issue, while teammate Logan Sargeant is still waiting for the upgrade.

As the season got underway, Albon found himself in the uncomfortable position of vaunting Williams’ progress while masking from the media its overweight plight, at least until team boss James Vowles let the cat out of the back at Imola last month.

"It was hard because you guys were asking me what the difference was with last year's car and I was telling you it's better, but we were running around in P19 and P20," Albon said in Montreal.

"I kind of had to bite my lip a little bit, but it was mostly down to it. There are still things in our car that we need to improve, I'm not denying that, but it was always very hard to answer your questions."

Albon admitted in Canada that Williams’ charger was still overweight “by a good amount”, although the problem was somewhat mitigated in Monaco, where the Anglo-Thai racer collected his first points of the season, and in Montreal where he was running among the top-ten until his unfortunate run-in with the spinning Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

"We're still overweight and by a good amount," Albon said.

"Monaco I think is the least sensitive to weight and Canada is the fourth least sensitive to weight, so good tracks.

"Barcelona goes the other way, so we just need to make the most of these moments until the weight does come out of the car.

“There's a big push to try to get it on weight before the end of the season but it is going to be tough."

Albon isn’t expecting fireworks at the high-downforce Circuit de Catalunya this week, but the 28-year-old is hoping for a bit more consistency.

"Barcelona will just be about trying to optimise our car,” he explained. ”It's max downforce, which is similar to Monaco, so our big rear wing works quite well. It's quite efficient," he explained.

"I'm not expecting some magic switches [in the pecking order], I'm just hoping we've got a car that's a bit more consistent.

"Barcelona has predominantly been one of the worst circuits for us. I know we say that about a lot of tracks, but it really is one of the worst ones.

"I'll be interested to see if we're okay in Barcelona now or maybe we're actually good."

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