Although the official announcement has been made on Alex Abon's future that he will be driving alongside Nicholas Latifi for the Williams F1 team next season, there are already some obstacles that have to be navigated in his contract.
Before Williams made their decision to take on Alex Albon for the 2022 season, who also happens to be Red Bull’s reserve driver currently, there were concerns from Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff surrounding a possible conflict of interest over having a driver from an engine manufacturer other than Mercedes.
During the Italian GP weekend, Wolff revealed that are clauses in Albon’s contract to protect the Mercedes manufacturer’s intellectual properties for the F1 engine.
According to Wolff, the imperative issue at hand is that there are strict clauses and confidentiality agreements whenever they hire a driver from a team that is not using power units from the Mercedes manufacturer. Albon is working for Red Bull at the moment, and just signed a contract with Williams who is associated with the Mercedes team through a power unit partnership.
Wolff expressed his concerns on this matter regarding Alex Albon's Red Bull ties:
"What was important for us is if a driver from another power unit manufacturer joins the team then there are very strict and clear IP confidentiality clauses," said Wolff.
"That was always in great harmony with Williams, they know exactly where we are coming from and what is important to protect."
Albon confessed that he was not aware of the specifics of the clauses because they are ongoing and have not been talked about yet:
"I have no idea, to be honest," said Albon. "It hasn't been talked about yet. Still things are ongoing. We'll have to wait and see what they are."
The British-Thai driver also voiced that he is ultimately focused on what his short-term goals are at the moment. Albon is still part of the Red Bull team so he undoubtedly is centered on helping them win the championship this season. His longer commitment to Williams next year will be his primary focus after his role is wrapped up with Red Bull.
"I would say it would be silly not to think, you know, that Red Bull is a team that I'd possibly come back with," he added. "At the moment though, I'm not really thinking so long term like that.
"It really feels like I've got to focus right now this year on my main priority, which is obviously getting us to win the championship, and then coming onto next year will be solely on Williams and developing the car and making sure we have a good year and I keep growing through that side.
"It's a lot of dreaming, let's say, if you think about the future. I just feel like right now I have to do the best job I can, focus kind of short term, and see what lays ahead."
Albon will continue to have a connection to the Red Bull through sponsorship but it will be limited branding that will likely not interfere too much with the livery of the Williams car.
"Again, still ongoing. Most probably, I might have my helmet still Red Bull branded. But that's probably about it."