Albon: “Seismic” changes key to long-term Williams deal

Adam Cooper
17/05/2024

Alex Albon says he made a long-term commitment to the Williams Formula 1 because of the “seismic” changes going on at the organisation. Williams announced on Wednesday that Albon had committed to the team into the new regulation era that begins in 2026, despite there being potential opportunities at the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes.

The Thai/British driver insisted that team boss James Vowles has made it clear that he has an important role to play in bringing the team forward and that he believes in the plan that Vowles is pursuing.

“All of it was really just down to knowing James and knowing the project that was at hand,” said Albon. “There are seismic movements going on behind the scenes at the team. It’s going to take a bit more time to truly reflect that.

“I didn’t feel pressured in terms of a time sense. It was just giving the team time to see what kind of direction the team were taking, and seeing the steps forwards, and obviously, speaking closely with James as well, seeing what he was doing in the team, and what steps he was taking to bring us up the field. And believe it.”

Asked if he could have waited to see what happened with potential vacancies at top teams such as Red Bull, he said:

“No. It’s all about the journey, I think. To look elsewhere, and to see the ifs, buts and maybes, there’s a lot of moving parts I think, especially around these kinds of seats going on right now. A lot has to happen, and there’s a lot of different ways.”

Albon

Albon admitted that signing a new deal in May was unusually early, but he insisted that it gave everyone more time to focus on improving the team.

“Obviously, the triggers were super early, generally this year,” he said. “I’d say, to sign a contract now in May, is still very early, but the focus was purely to just get on with it.

“We have a big journey ahead of us. We’re not hiding around there. It’s nice to be able to kind of go into the rest of this year now really just thinking about, okay, where are the areas in the team that that we really need to change and move and develop?

“What areas in the car especially on kind of more personal driving point of view are we are we not fixing and focusing on?

“When you’re kind of going through contract negotiations and all this kind of stuff, that doesn’t really exist too much. It’s just kind of more about the present and just focusing on the performances and all that kind of thing over the weekend.

“But now there is stability, and there is a focus now towards really building that team. I think James is very focused on me being a part of that journey and that project. I believe my role here with the team is not just being a racing driver. It’s much more than that.”

Albon (Williams)

Vowles agreed that he sees a much bigger role for Albon than just driving the car.

“Alex is a leader,” he said. “What I have by my side is a leader that is able to direct a thousand people in whichever way he so chooses. I hope it’s the right way! But the point is that he has an immense control and power, because that’s what Alex is.

“What I like about Alex, he’s incredibly comfortable who he is. Who he is, is who you see. That’s the same for me, and that’s why we gel quite well. He’s also honest, transparent, open – ‘This is what I want, this is the direction I need.’”

Vowles says that the team is continuing to undergo major changes.

“When I joined the organisation, it was about 700 people,” he said. “I don’t know the exact count, but it’s over a thousand now, and we’re not done hiring.

“That’s the growth that we’re going through. Take any organisation in the world, and fundamentally going at something akin to that amount of people to it, that is a significant change.

“Our operation side, so fundamentally, the element of the organisation that produces the car, that has gone through a very significant change. We are working with different leadership, and different structures are going on there as well.”

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