It’s going to be an weekend of comparisons and testing for Williams at their home Grand Prix as they run new upgrades on Alex Albon’s car. Teammate Nicholas Latifi will run with the package they’ve used so far in 2022.
“It’s an interesting weekend for us, we haven’t had major upgrades for a while,” said the Thai to MotorLAT and other media outlets.
“And, of course, it’s going to look visibly different.
“It should perform, hopefully, a bit better than the previous package we had. So, only time will tell, we have some running to do. We need to get on top of the balance as quickly as we can, and try and get into the weekend hitting the ground running.
“I think what you’ll see is it’ll look more towards what the rest of the grid looks like. I think as you’ve seen, everyone’s been going towards a certain concept. I think, as we know, everyone started a bit different.
“And it’s either the kind of the Ferrari concept, or the Red Bull concept, that seems to be adopted.
“Our one looks more like the Red Bull car, but I wouldn’t call it a like for like. It’s the direction that we’ve headed into. You’ll see in FP1.
“But you know, there is a lot of work. I mean, this is a big update, there aren’t many things on the car that have the same part as two weeks ago [in Canada]. So it’s pretty good.”
Certain members of the media have suggested the updated package could be worth as much as a second a lap.
“That would be a very good update!,” he quipped in response.
“It’s hard to say what we’ll do, I think a second, if we took that we would be very, very happy. But yeah, truthfully, speaking until we drive the car, we won’t really know.
Albon believes the priority is to figure out the package this weekend and over the coming races before the summer break.
“And I think what you’ll see is, especially on Friday, is us trying to figure out how to deal with the car and see what we can do in terms of ride height windows and balance tuning, whatever it may be, because we might end up on Friday with a very different car, and it will take a bit of time to get used to, and maybe not even this weekend, it might take a bit more than that.
“So yeah, there’s no numbers on it. I think it would be silly to do that. But we obviously are hoping for a good improvement. But yeah, until Friday, obviously, the whole team, myself, we’re itching to get out there.”
Saturday afternoons in particular have been a struggle for Williams as they’ve only got out of Q1 on two occasions with the Thai driver. A P9 in Miami and 10th in Australia has the former Red Bull and Toro Rosso driver on three points after nine races.
The 26-year-old is also keeping his feet on the ground and is realistic about potential gains they could make.
“In terms of positioning, obviously we want to be fighting more into Q2 more into the midfield, more into the points.
“A very good weekend for us right now, when we put it all together is, is at the very bottom of the points, slash P11/P12. Realistically speaking on paper, we are not quick enough, we know that and there is a little bit of a gap even to the ninth fastest car.
“So especially with the Astons now, making that step that they’ve done, it left us behind a little bit. And if we can get back into that group… You see it every weekend, there’s always a different car, getting into Q3 in that midfield pack.
“Of course, if we can have opportunities where we can fight in those positions., and that’s really what we need, we need to be in front of the others in the constructors’.
“I’m a realist, we have to be real to ourselves. But we obviously want improvement. It can go either way. And I think you saw it with the Aston Martins, they took quite a while to get their package optimised. It’s a learning curve this year. And I don’t expect that to be any different for us.”
As he’ll be the only one with the new upgrade this weekend – and factoring in the budget cap and spare parts – Albon is aware he needs to be careful to avoid damaging his car this weekend.
“With one car, it’s going to be tricky anyway,” said Albon.
“I’m not going to be pushing flat out in Turn 9 [Copse] on the first lap, that’s for sure. We’ll be make sure to be steady on it.”