Albon: My front wing looked like a dog had “chewed it off” after Baku clash

2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon said the front wing of his Williams looked like a dog had “chewed it off” after a clash at the start of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Williams driver went side-by-side into turn two with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas on the first lap. The result was contact between Albon and Piastri, which was noted but did not lead to a penalty, while behind them Haas’s Kevin Magnussen went into the back of Bottas at the tight left-hander.

Albon went on to finish behind Piastri in 12th, the same position he started. Magnussen was just behind them in 13th, while Bottas brought his damaged Alfa Romeo home a lapped 18th.

“It was three-abreast, Oscar had a car to his right, there was Bottas, so that was it really,” Albon recalled. “I don’t think it was anyone’s [fault]. There was a space, I was completely on the left. If I went any more to the left, I was going to hit the inside wall. So I don’t think it compromised anyone.

“If anything, most probably, I had damage on my front wing for the rest of the race, and my endplate came off. So I had slightly compromised [aerodynamics].”

Albon’s front wing endplate “instantly” came off in the contact, so “we were under-flapped on that first stint, we lost quite a lot of front load,” he said. But a set-up compromise when he pitted meant it did not prove to be too troublesome on a track with several long straights.

The team decided to “overdo” the front wing angle for the second stint, Albon explained. “It looks like a dog’s chewed it off, so we’ll have to see if there was any load issues with it.”

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Bottas revealed his car went into anti-stall when he slowed to avoid the incident and was hit by Magnussen. “I just saw the McLaren coming closer and then touching me,” he said Bottas. “And then I had anti-stall because of the touch, so I had to pull the clutch, and then somebody hit me from behind.”

He revealed that he “picked up some damage to the diffuser” in the clash, “because I got the impact from the side and then from the rear, and I saw there was bits hanging on the diffuser”. However he admitted that even allowing for the damage “the pace wasn’t anything amazing” during the race.

Magnussen said he “was too close to react” to Bottas slowing ahead of him. However the Haas driver felt his damage was largely inconsequential.

“We were quick, competitive all the way around,” said Magnussen. “But I was P13, [and] with the front damage I was still faster than the guy in front. At least in the beginning, then my fronts started to get destroyed.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
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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1 comments on “Albon: My front wing looked like a dog had “chewed it off” after Baku clash”

  1. There was no space and no other way for that to end.

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