Williams, Silverstone, 2022

Williams’ new Red Bull-esque sidepod design is a “much-needed upgrade” – Albon

2022 British Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon has high hopes for the improvement Williams will make from its first major upgrade of the season, but admits it may take a while to get the most out of.

The team has brought an upgrade package for Albon’s car only to this weekend’s British Grand Prix. He said the new car is closer to Red Bull’s in design.

“As you’ve seen, everyone’s been going towards a certain concept,” said Albon. “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 and our one looks more like the Red Bull car. But I wouldn’t call it a like-for-like.”

Williams are languishing at the bottom of the standings after the first nine races. Albon said “a lot of work” has gone into the upgrade. “This is a big update. There isn’t many things on the car have the same part as two weeks ago. So it’s pretty big.”

However he dismissed rumours the team expects to gain as much as a second per lap from the revised aerodynamics.

“It’s hard to say what we’ll do,” he said. “I think a second is very… if we took that, we would be very, very happy. But until we drive the car we won’t really know.”

He said it may take more than one race for the team to unlock the performance from their revised car.

“I think what you’ll see especially on Friday is us trying to figure out how to deal with the car and see what 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.

“Maybe not even this weekend, it might take a bit more than that. So there’s no numbers on it, I think it would be silly to do that, but we obviously are hoping for a very good improvement.”

The team wasn’t able to build enough parts in order for Nicholas Latifi to also run the upgrade, said Albon.

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“Obviously Silverstone’s close and the guys have worked really hard,” he said. “The car was ready very late and that’s a testament to everyone working hard at the factory.

“It’s a much-needed upgrade, of course. Whether it works as amazing as it could or whatever it may be, it’s been a real team effort to get it here.

Sebastian Vettel, Williams-Renault FW14B, Silverstone, 2022
Gallery: 2022 British Grand Prix build-up in pictures
“There’s still things coming in not just for this race, but even to Austria and beyond that I think we’ll hopefully have a bit more of a better base package that we can start still developing some improvement.”

He admitted he will have to take it easy at first due to the team’s limited stock of parts. “As you can see with one car, it’s going to be tricky in a way,” he said. “I’m not going to be pushing flat out in turn nine [Copse] on the first lap that’s for sure. We’ll make sure to be steady on it.”

Albon hopes the upgrade will move them closer towards the rest of the midfield after rivals such as Aston Martin moved ahead of them in recent races.

“In terms of positioning, obviously we want to be fighting more into Q2, more into the midfield, more into the points,” he said. “A very good weekend for us right now, when we put it all together, is at the very bottom of the points-slash-P11, P12.

“So 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. Especially with the Astons now making that step that they’ve done, it left us behind a little bit.

“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 them positions that’s really what we need, we need to be in front of the others in the constructors’ championship.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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11 comments on “Williams’ new Red Bull-esque sidepod design is a “much-needed upgrade” – Albon”

  1. Hope it’s quick, fingers crossed for them.

    1. It makes it look more proportioned / better looking into the bargin.

  2. Third Red Bull, called it. 🤣^

    Though that thing looks like it went through at least half a dozen ill-calibrated copying machines and has retained little of the original’s detail and finesse.

    1. Coventry Climax
      30th June 2022, 23:10

      That’s just because they lack the funding to do an “AM”, and just buy the original drawings, or, Horner wouldn’t take the bribe that Toto did.
      No actually, I hold a higher esteem for Williams, and I think they’ve developed this themselves. Ofcourse they looked closely at what the others did, but so does any other team. Remember this is a team that comes from a very bleak situation and is struggling very hard to come out on top of it again. I at least, sincerely hope they do.

  3. What they didn’t copy the Mercedes side pods!

    1. @bassclef, I now that was tongue in cheek, but seriously I am surprised that Merc have stuck with their sidepods. My thinking was that they’d want to use sidepods to spread out the downforce generated across the width of the car. When you walk on a tightrope, you hold your arms out because you spread your weight better and can balance more easily, and I’m thinking the same is true of balance in a car. But of course, there is far more to aerodynamics than just the impression you get from how something looks.

      1. I think it’s ok for Merc to stick with their “no pods” because they are clearly third on the grid. Their design isn’t the fastest but it’s not as bad as the first Aston Martin of this season. That’s bad for a team that dominated from 2014 to 2021, but not bad when you consider the grid as a whole. And if they can find a way to make it work, they’ll probably come away with more knowledge than if they just copied another team. Of course, this could backfire if they can’t figure it out and they’ll just have to start from scratch next year.

      2. Isn’t the 1st test Merc bodywork kind of like this? I would think if that was Merc porpoising problem they would have reverted to that original bodywork.

        1. @darryn – It’s the thicknes of Mercedes floor who cause all kind of problems without the support staves they stil would have porpoising as the floor curves to the road which need the sidepods to give the floor the stifness they need.

          1. @macleod Thanks. That makes sense.

  4. Another car model for Codemasters to to update …

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