Alexander Albon, Williams launch, 2023

Albon doubts Williams can emulate Haas’ leap up the order in 2023

2023 F1 season

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Williams driver Alexander Albon does not expect the team to make a big step up the grid in 2023, similar to Haas last season.

Haas finished fifth at the opening race in Bahrain last year, having ended the previous season last in the championship. The team went on to take eighth in the constructors’ championship while Williams fell to last place.

Heading into his second year with Williams, Albon is confident the team has made improvements on the weaker areas of last season’s FW44 but does not expect a major step up the order for the team.

“I’d say at the start of the year, I don’t think it will be something like Haas, let’s say, when they came out the blocks and straight away were very competitive,” Albon told media including RaceFans at the team’s launch event today.

“We have changed quite a lot with the car in terms of its philosophy and the areas where we’re trying to change the through-corner behaviour of the car. That might take a bit of time to understand and optimise.”

The team also needs to increase its rate of development, said Albon. “In terms of upgrades last year we only had really one significant one. Hopefully we can be able to bring out possibly smaller, more frequent ones. We don’t know yet. But let’s see how it is in Bahrain and obviously be efficient and effective with our updates.”

Following his absence from Formula 1 in 2021 and return with Williams last year, Albon scored points in three rounds last season, accounting for half of Williams’ tally of eight points. Albon says his aim for 2023 is simply to see the team do better than last season.

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“On my side, my main target is to see progress,” he said. “I think if we can improve from where we were last year – I mean, you can easily say that’s not hard – but in this world, it is a race and with these new regs changing so much, the downforce and everything, it’s not the same as it was last year.

Gallery: Williams reveal 2023 F1 livery
“Of course teams have still managed to recoup the loss and of course, improve on top of that. But it’s not to say the other teams are doing a better job. So we just need to make sure that we are progressing. On my side, that’s scoring more points, clearly, and being in areas where we can fight more.

“There’s a few races last year where unfortunately Q1 was all we could do. If we can always be fighting for Q2 and making it into that area of the pack, the grid, obviously the more chances we get to fight for points, the more we’re going to get there.”

Williams tended to perform best around high-speed, low-downforce circuits like Monza and Spa-Francorchamps last season, scoring points at both. Albon expects the team will have certain venues where it is stronger once again in 2023.

“What I’m trying to say is I don’t think we’re going to come out of the blocks firing but we just need to be smart,” he explained. “We did start the year on the back foot and we started scoring points around midway.

“We definitely had our favourable tracks such as Monza and Spa et cetera, I think. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were still strong in those areas, in those circuits. But I’m still looking to optimise every race and the goal is always to score points. Podiums, hopefully, but we’ll see about that.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Albon doubts Williams can emulate Haas’ leap up the order in 2023”

  1. I doubt the same.

  2. Albon is simply wrong when he notes that “We did start the year on the back foot and we started scoring points around midway.” Williams scored 8 points, almost half (3) of them came in the first five races. He also sells himself short while doing so, as those drives were pretty inspired (Australia in particular).

    1. Albon is simply wrong when he notes that “We did start the year on the back foot and we started scoring points around midway.

      True. The halfway point was roughly when Albon stopped scoring (Belgium 14 of 22) and the second half was when his teammate scored 25% of the season total with a top up 25% of the season total from a rookie who didn’t know what all the buttons did replacing Albon for one race.
      I will put his memory lapse down to after effects of the anaesthetic.

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