Alexander Albon, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

Albon signs “long-term” Williams contract extension

Formula 1

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Alexander Albon will continue to drive for Williams in 2026 and beyond after agreeing a new deal with the team.

Team principal James Vowles said securing the services of the former Red Bull driver is “a big piece of the puzzle of moving us up the grid.”

Albon made his return to F1 racing at Williams in 2022. He arrived in the series three years earlier at AlphaTauri (now RB) and was promoted to Red Bull mid-season. But following a difficult 2020 campaign Red Bull relegated Albon to a reserve driver role for 2021.

Since his comeback, Albon has established himself as Williams’ leading driver. He scored all bar one of their 28 points last season, single-handedly lifting them to seventh place in the constructors’ standings, their best finish since 2017.

His previous deal kept him at Williams until 2025. The new extension will ensure he remains at the team when F1 introduces its next set of technical regulations in 2026.

Albon said he is “incredibly happy to be remaining with Williams” but acknowledged his third year at the team had got off to a difficult start. He is yet to score a point after six rounds.

“It has been a difficult start to the year but since joining Williams we have made significant progress together and I have seen the huge changes happening behind the scenes to take us back to the front of the grid.

“This is a long-term project that I really believe in and want to play a key role in which is why I have signed a multi-year contract. The journey will take time but I am confident we are building the right team to move forward and achieve great things in the years to come.”

Vowles took over as team principal last year. He is seeking to move Williams back up the grid following its takeover by Dorilton Capital in 2020.

He said Albon has “exceptional talent, technical input and dedication to the cause and this is a huge vote of confidence in Williams and the journey back to competitiveness that we are on.

“Since joining, Alex has consistently demonstrated his ability to perform under pressure, and signing him for the long-term is a big piece of the puzzle of moving us up the grid.”

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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...

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22 comments on “Albon signs “long-term” Williams contract extension”

  1. So, at the very least, 2026 & ’27, but a surprise timing, given he wasn’t out of contract for a little white yet.
    Nevertheless, this announcement should finally silence everyone who’s hell-bent to believe in a Red Bull Racing return, at least for the time being, if not for good.

    1. Williams isn’t impressing atm in my opinion, so I don’t think it’s wise for him to commit long term, he was doing well enough to get an offer from a better team.

  2. Good for Williams. He’s definitely fast with an element of silk to his driving and approach. Really think that incident with Hamilton a few seasons ago at Austria knocked a bit of confidence out of him for a while after….

  3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    15th May 2024, 11:06

    I’m not hell-bent on believing he will return to Red Bull, but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a clause in his contract that in some circumstances, meant he could leave for a top team including Red Bull. Vowles has said he wouldn’t stand in Alex’s if that time came.
    Although, I hope Williams can do “a McLaren” and get back to the front and then Alex would stay for sure.

    1. Of course, all driver contracts always include an exit clause regardless of driver & team, so nothing new or extraordinary in this regard.

  4. Very interesting move by Albon, I was expecting Merc was coming to work a deal with Williams for Albon. There must be something he really likes about Williams. Happy that Albon is in a good place and will be racing for a few more years.

    1. I guess what he likes is he’s dominating his team mate, but that could change when sargeant gets replaced!

  5. Logical decision for both. But I am sure, there are out clauses on both sides. I for one am not convinced Albon is back to his 2019 form as he has only got Sargeant as a teammate since then

    1. I don’t doubt he’s back to his 2019 form, what I doubt is if he would be able to extract a good performance from a top car too, he’s never been a bad driver so far, apart from his red bull stint.

  6. This certainly settles the silly season a bit.
    Still could be some “Shock Horror” type stuff to come though … I hope :)

  7. This feels unambitious to me. World Champion calibre drivers don’t tend to stick around midfield teams by choice. Albon, who has disappointed this season, is one of the big players of the driver market.

    With Hamilton, Norris and Alonso signed up he still had a Red Bull or Mercedes option and only Sainz to battle. Both teams will expect wins in the bear future and Red Bull will likely lose Max and Perez soon and need a change of direction. I suspect that will be with Norris but if Albon sees himself in that bracket he needs to spread his wings.

    In the current F1 model I don’t see Williams progressing to be a top team. I think Audi have the same chance or better, another team with a vacancy.

    This is poor driver management.

    1. Agree, bad choice for albon and while I don’t think audi will become a top team, they should have the resources to do better than williams pretty soon.

      1. I doubt he had an offer from Audi. Audi’s likely holding out for Sainz still w/Kimi certainly on the way to take Merc’s second seat. Not sure when Russell’s contract is up though. Cause if I was MB, I’d take Sainz over Russell in a hot second.

    2. IMO, while I love Albon (probably the best driver as a human being on the grid), I don’t think he’s a WC caliber driver. I’d put him in the Ocon tier at best. His pedigree so far is one outstanding season, but he had no real benchmark as a team. So, it’s still hard to know even how good 2023 was.

  8. So either Alex has accepted that the midfield is all he can achieve in his remaining career or Newey has indeed made a decision in favour of Williams, probably in exchange for a piece of ownership.

  9. I’m so happy that Williams have managed to keep him. The timing of it really surprises me though. This time last year he seemed really happy, as Williams were getting some strong results, but this year has been disastrous. He must know something, either that the Merc and Red Bull seats aren’t available to him, or there are big changes coming at Williams. I really, really hope it means that Newey is returning, but it could just be a lack of alternative options. Either way I’m happy for both parties and I hope they can continue building together.

  10. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    15th May 2024, 15:25

    He could have gambled on a Red Bull seat, but no guarantee. Mercedes could have been an option but they seem determined to go in a different direction. No room at McLaren, no room at Aston, no room at Ferrari. Alpine don’t look a good place to be, wouldn’t want to go to RB, Audi have their eye on others and Haas would be a side-step. Feels like there were a lot of ‘options’ but only Williams was a realistic one, could offer the security of a long term offer and the possibility of moving forward. Good for him, I hope to see him do well and see a Williams resurgence.

  11. Neil (@neilosjames)
    15th May 2024, 19:24

    He knows far more than I (or anyone else) about what options he had available… so from that perspective it has to make sense.

    But from my position of limited insight into the driver market, it’s also not surprising as I doubt he was being overwhelmed with attractive offers.

  12. Albon wasn’t going to be hired by Red Bull or Mercedes. Not on this year’s form, anyway.
    McLaren, Ferrari and Aston Martin are full.
    Audi seems to want to pair Hülkenberg with Sainz, if RBR is to be believed.
    Haas and arguably also Alpine are worse teams to be than Williams.

    Unfortunately for Albon, it’s extremely hard to go back to a top team after being dumped by one. It makes everyone else hesitant, regardless of how well the driver in question does.

    1. The problem is his performance was really bad the one chance he got in a top team, if he had been dropped while performing well for a driver who wasn’t doing any better, like happened to perez or sainz, top teams would be less reluctant to hire him.

  13. He has made his future secure but this year his performance is below average. Only thing note worthy was the overtake on Yuki in Saudi. Miami was bad performance and he also crashed few times already, taking Logan car as well even after his car was repaired from the crash.

  14. Crazy decision, considering he was being mentioned as a potential driver in far better teams than Williams.

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