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Formula 1

‘Better than expected’ Albon set to complete Singapore weekend

by Matt Beer
3 min read

Williams Formula 1 driver Alex Albon is confident of being fit to complete the Singapore Grand Prix weekend, reporting that he was “coping better than I expected” in Friday practice.

Albon had to pull out of the last race in Italian ahead of final practice when he developed appendicitis.

But an even bigger problem followed, when post-surgery complications led to a respiratory failure and a spell in intensive care.

He had always set a target of being fit for Singapore, three weeks on from his time in hospital.

Though neither Williams nor Albon publicly discussed any deadline for assessing his fitness or a back-up strategy, The Race understands that the plan going into the weekend was just for Albon to be in the car at the start of Friday practice and then judge his fitness from there.

The scale of what he had been through in Italy was not underestimated by the Albon camp, and he was also well aware that the Marina Bay night race is among the most physically demanding grands prix on the calendar.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Singapore Grand Prix Practice Day Singapore, Singapore

But having experienced no further health problems since returning home and been karting without difficulty, Albon went into the weekend optimistic.

Had he felt it necessary to pull out, his Monza replacement Nyck de Vries is in Singapore and again on standby to step into the Williams.

But Albon’s mood was upbeat after Friday practice, while acknowledging that the race distance on Sunday would be challenging.

“I’m feeling OK out there today despite everything that’s gone on and think I’m coping better than I expected,” he said.

“We had a good amount of long runs but know it’s a quarter of what we’ll be doing come Sunday, so I’ll take advantage of the rest tomorrow.”

Albon was 16th-fastest in both Friday sessions, covering 45 laps during the day.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Singapore Grand Prix Practice Day Singapore, Singapore

He acknowledged that this was not going to be a great circuit for Williams, saying just getting out of Q1 should be considered “a big success” if he or team-mate Nicholas Latifi can manage it in qualifying.

“We know where we’re struggling with the car but think it has more potential in it, despite coming here knowing we’re a little more behind what we had in Monza,” Albon added.

“This is a downforce sensitive circuit which doesn’t tend to go in our favour, with 23 corners there’s not a lot of time to get that lap time back.

“We’ve got some research and homework to do tonight and think Q2 would be a big success tomorrow.”

De Vries’ ninth place in Albon’s car on his F1 debut at Monza made him an instant hot property in the 2023 driver market.

Though Williams briefly looked favourite to secure him, the chance of De Vries instead ending up at AlphaTauri – allowing it to release Pierre Gasly so he can join Alpine – has increased in recent weeks.

Williams announced ahead of the Singapore GP that it will not retain Latifi for a fourth season.

If it cannot get De Vries as Albon’s new team-mate, its alternatives include Formula 2 racers Logan Sargeant and Jack Doohan, with current F1 drivers Mick Schumacher and Daniel Ricciardo also on the market.

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