Williams take significant step forward with development of FW45

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing FW45. 09.07.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, British Grand Prix, Silverstone, England, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

With two rounds left before the summer break, Williams managed to show impressive progress in the Canadian, Austrian and British Grand Prix. The Grove-based squad was at the bottom of the standings to start the year, and for some time – it seemed as though they could stay there.

However, in the last few races, they have climbed to 11 points and quickly surpassed AlphaTauri, Haas and Alfa Romeo for seventh place in the Constructors’ standings.

For the teams most in difficulty, a leap of this type, if sustained until the end of the year, is very important and secures money for the future.

This is even more important for a team that is transforming itself and is trying to fully return to the midfield – which is a process also taking place at Alpine and McLaren. As it stands, Williams is hoping to be able to consolidate this definitive leap forward, breaking away from the back of the grid.

Williams FW45: A car with clear strengths and weaknesses

The leap in performance made over the winter has gone under the radar, ‘obscured’ by Aston Martin’s progress and Williams’ position in the bottom half of the standings.

In 2022, however, the points secured were hardly representative. This year, the team led by James Vowles has been concretely fighting for the Top 10 in almost all the rounds of this world championship.

“We know what our strengths and weaknesses are. In circuits where efficiency counts and being on the gas a lot, with little braking, we go fast,” explained Alexander Albon, with a very precise analysis, explaining the good results in Silverstone, Canada and Austria. 

However, the early World FW45 encountered long-distance corners, such as turn 3, turn 4, turn 9 or 10 of Barcelona, ​​the biggest problems

Where there were only short corners or chicanes, like in Melbourne or Canada, the English car was much better. 

In addition to this, the FW45 has always suffered from high temperatures, with the cool conditions at Silverstone, coupled with the updates brought to the track, which have improved the car in the long-course corners, successfully enhancing the blue and black car.


A strong point then is the drivers, in particular Alexander Albon. Logan Sargeant, on the other hand, is a Rookie and is adapting to the category and to a car that is still difficult to drive, though it is showing more and more potential. The former F2 driver is getting closer and closer o the points.

However, the talents of the Thai driver are there for all to see, even those who let him go, read Red Bull and Helmut Marko. 

Albon has been fast in qualifying, consistent in the race, excellent in attack and defence. Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance Williams, has admitted that “Alexander always gets the most out of the car, and this makes him have more and more confidence.”

Williams: Small updates ahead, but the focus will be on studying the weak points and extracting the full potential of the FW45

Williams is looking to the long-term to make improvements in the short-term.

Software, infrastructure and everything concerning the factory are areas that teams have asked the FIA ​​to make ‘concessions’ with the budget cap. This change will largely be necessary to be able to make investments and progress, though working on the track is essential to learn new knowledge and understand if the direction taken is the right one.

Williams has halved his delay compared to 2022, but progress this season has been important and decisive. 

“There were some favourable circumstances, but certain results would not have arrived without the updates brought to Canada and then to Silverstone,” James Vowles said. The leap forward was important.


Williams started his season around 1.5 seconds off the RB19 in Bahrain, to finish within 1 second at Silverstone. 

The performance trend can be influenced by that of the races, but the trend is certainly positive.

Clearly, the comparison from Red Bull influences this gap a bit, but comparing it with another team that has progressed a lot, like Aston Martin, the data confirms the trend and even further enhances it if you look at the work done in the season. 

In Bahrain, Williams was eight-tenths behind Aston Martin, a gap more or less confirmed in Austria, which was reduced to less than a tenth at Silverstone. 

This ‘leap’ once again highlights how Aston Martin’s weekend was certainly negative but confirms that the FW45 has certainly progressed a lot during the season as well.

In terms of efficiency, Williams has always remained one of the reference cars, albeit whilst sacrificing a certain amount of aerodynamic load compared to Red Bull or even Ferrari/

During the season, however, has Williams managed to increase the level of downforce without ever penalizing top speeds too much with additional drag

Particularly relevant is to point out how from Bahrain, where the FW45 paid significant deficits from Red Bull, especially at medium and high speeds, even close to 10km/h, it managed to halve this delay thanks to developments, adding aerodynamic load without penalizing efficiency.

At Silverstone, the gaps were then even closer, partly due to a less-than-dominant weekend for the RB19, but once again, the numbers confirmed an improving trend in the load values ​​of the Grove car.

James Vowles, Logan Sargeant & Alexander Albon with the FW45 in the ‘Gulf’ livery which will be used in Singapore, Suzuka and Losail.

Between now and the end of the season, Williams will not bring other important FW45 update packages to the track.

“We will still have some new features during the season, more adaptations to the circuits, such as the low-load ones for SPA and Monza, more small improvements to complete the package of updates that we have begun to introduce in Canada,”  James Vowles has outlined.


Author: Paolo D’Alessandro
Co-Author: Andrea Vergani & Piergiuseppe Donadoni

Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang