Alexander Albon, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Albon explains mystery problem behind turn four error and angry radio message

Formula 1

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Alexander Albon revealed Williams got to the bottom of the problem which sent him off the track at turn four during the Spanish Grand Prix.

His off-track excursion prompted an angry exchange with race engineer James Urwin which was broadcast on the world feed. Albon asked Urwin for an explanation more than once, and by the end of the race Williams realised his car had been affected by a strong gust of wind.

The Williams driver said he was taken aback by the moment as he had been driving within the car’s capabilities in the corner where he went off.

“I was tyre-saving through [turn] four, so it was a bit odd,” he told the official F1 channel. “I wanted an answer because I know what the limit of the car is, and that wasn’t the limit.

“Afterwards we realised it was a big gust of wind. But obviously in the moment we didn’t really know it so every time I went through turn four after that I was a little bit extra cautious.”

Albon described the weekend as “a reality check” for the team after they qualified slowest and he finished 18th, two places ahead of his team mate who was last.

“I think we’ve come to a more traditional circuit, obviously we are overweight and we are carrying, I think, a little bit less downforce than other people,” he said. “We take advantage of tracks that are a little bit more different. It was a tough one, we knew it was going to be a tough one, we expect better things for Austria and Silverstone.”

Albon’s radio messages after he went off

Urwin Okay, Tsunoda three behind.
Albon What the hell was that?
Urwin Looks all okay from our side.
Albon No it’s not okay. Don’t just say that within five seconds.
Urwin So we see some front wing damage.
Albon Yeah but what was the problem with the car.
Albon I don’t care about front damage.
Urwin At the moment we just think it was locking but we’re checking.
Urwin Alex we are still looking at it.
Urwin Four laps remaining.
Albon We’re sure it’s not wind or nothing? In turn four. I don’t really understand when the car does that kind of stuff.
Urwin Yeah it does look like it was probably wind. So there was a gust, 17kph, at that point.

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Keith Collantine
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13 comments on “Albon explains mystery problem behind turn four error and angry radio message”

  1. Williams and gusts of wind. I’m not an aerodynamist but historically I don’t remember any car being so vulnerable to them or understand why Williams seem to have such a problem.

    I’ve pitched tents at music festivals whilst inebriated in gales and though I probably went off piste a few times I never demanded an explanation from my engineer.

    1. Lol..Comment of the year mate!

    2. Formula One cars are driven at the limit. As you can imagine, if you are on the limit, any little thing can unbalance a car. Martin Brundle once said, that if you stood in a corner and touched the car with your finger, it would spin. And as you may also imagine, a driver sitting in a Formula One car cannot feel a wind gust, so how should he know such a wind gust unbalanced the car?

      1. Martin Brundle says a lot of nonsense, your finger would get broken.

    3. They can’t use this excuse with the all new car. They could when it was the straight line special with no downforce and little drag.

  2. I have an opinion
    24th June 2024, 1:03

    Sainz – this is not the team for you.

    1. And the brilliant Sauber operation is? They couldn’t conduct pit stops for the first five races.

      1. The “best” place to be seems to be alpine.

        1. For 2025. Yes. But not 2026.

  3. An Sionnach
    24th June 2024, 1:36

    If the mystery problem was driver error, then it wasn’t much of a mystery…

  4. I can understand getting angry when an engineer responds before they could have possibly looked into the data in any detail “no problems on our end” even if it ended up having nothing to do with the car.

  5. Coventry Climax
    24th June 2024, 12:53

    I think Albon’s was absolutely right. For him, it came out of the blue, and his asking was justified. If the Williams team want to play with the big guys, they must get their operation to run like that as well.
    Even if the engineer responding had already started investigating before Albon asked, he still A) could have responded differently and with more explanation (“We can’t seen anything our side, but stll investigating”, or any such), and B) if he already was convinced there was nothing wrong with the car, he should have known -or at least considered- wind being the factor – and told Albon about that (“Everything fine her, must have been wind”.)

    Still, must have been quite a gust, with Albon running around in tyre saving mode.
    Verstappen ran wide in a corner, and, though brilliantly missed by the coverage, the car right behind him did exactly the same. Was that wind as well?

Comments are closed.