F1 News

Albon fears for Williams following chassis issues in Suzuka

Albon fears for Williams' future

12 April at 16:00
  • Lizzie Lemon

Williams’ 2024 campaign has started poorly. They had the chassis debacle in Melbourne, a lap one DNF in Suzuka and head into Shanghai eighth in the constructors with no points. Alex Albon has opened up about the difficulty Williams is really in, how this will be detrimental well into 2024, and their glimmer of hope in China next weekend.

A Team in the Trenches

After Albon crashed out of FP1 in Melbourne, Williams had to send the mangled chassis back to the factory. An enormous team effort on the repair saw them ready to race with two cars at Suzuka. Sargeant took the newly-repaired car, whilst Albon raced with his teammate’s.

Unfortunately, his lap one incident with Ricciardo’s RB meant Sargeant’s chassis had to be sent back to the factory - yet another repair job caused by Albon. The impact of this on the team, the 28-year-old has revealed, has been detrimental: “With everything going on as well, we’ve been on the back foot […]. Across the whole factory. It’s a tough, tough time, and obviously I’m frustrated for everyone. I feel like we’re in a tough place.”

This is a team that Vowles has admitted was stretched to their maximum over the winter break. Their lack of a spare chassis proves as much. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that this start is a brutal blow for the organisation.

Not just a ‘now’ problem

Albon has encouraged the team to put their “heads down and focus upwards”, which is the bare minimum Williams need to recover their season. His incidents will have a potentially devastating domino effect, a worry that has not been lost on the Brit. “It’s just a lot of time and effort to repair rather than to develop and focus on upgrades. So it will pay its toll later on into the season.”

However, Albon has full trust in the team to bounce back. “It’s always kind of been the Williams way that everyone digs deep and genuinely produces miracles to get cars built, prepared and ready.”

A chance in China?

F1’s first Chinese Grand Prix since 2019 may be Williams' chance to shine again. As Albon explains: “everyone’s going to China, underprepared, not knowing what to expect, and that’s where you can capitalise and do better than other people. So there’s a big opportunity in China.”

Can Williams have a successful weekend in Shanghai and give the team the morale boost they desperately need?