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Formula 1

Albon’s first thoughts on 2023 Williams suggest real progress

by Matt Beer
2 min read

It would be unwise to read too much into a ‘filming day’ shakedown run on demonstration-spec tyres, but Alex Albon’s extremely positive first impression of the 2023 Williams Formula 1 car will be an early boost for the team that finished last in the 2022 constructors’ championship.

Albon had the first run in the FW45 at Silverstone today before handing over to new team-mate Logan Sargeant.

The likes of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Haas’s Kevin Magnussen put out positive-sounding social media videos after their teams’ shakedowns last week.

But Albon’s demeanour – even through an extremely hoarse voice due to a sore throat – went beyond being generically perky for PR purposes. He genuinely sounded like a driver whose first hint of their 2023 machine had come as a very positive surprise.

“It feels really good actually,” enthused Albon in an interview for Williams’s website.

“Sometimes you drive the car for the first time and it’s like, ‘OK, we’ve got some work to do’.

“Today was more, ‘You know what, this is a good baseline, we actually have a well-balanced car’.

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“The pace is the pace but the feeling of the car is good.

“I’m actually really happy. I feel like we’ve addressed some of the problems.”

He acknowledged that he was talking having not yet experienced the car on proper 2023 F1 tyres or in the development spec it will start the season in.

“There’s always going to be a bit of a ‘what if’ until you drive the real car, I don’t want to speak too soon, maybe we’re not as good as we think we are,” Albon added.

“But we’re going in the right direction, that’s the main thing. We’ve got a good baseline, a good platform now to go to Bahrain with and start adding some downforce.”

And he felt even the shakedown day had been more smoother procedurally than the start of 2022 had been.

“We have no issues right now,” said Albon.

“It’s the second year with these cars, so everything’s so much more seamless and efficient right now. We’re just rattling through it.”

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