Albon cites early understanding as key for Williams

Williams FW44 Formula 1 car

Williams recruit, Alex Albon, has suggested gaining an early understanding of the team’s 2022 Formula 1 car will be critical to starting the coming campaign strongly.

The squad unveiled the FW44 on Tuesday (local time) with a predominantly blue paint scheme aboard what was otherwise the 2022 show car – seemingly as used by Red Bull for its launch.

Albon has joined the team this season after sitting a year out after losing his Red Bull drive to Sergio Perez at the end of 2020.

He steps into the seat previously filled by George Russell, with Nicholas Latifi remaining with the operation for a third season.

“I like that we’ve gone for more blue with the dynamic diamond finish and a little bit of red; it looks really good and I’m looking forward to seeing it out on track,” said Albon.

“The upcoming Barcelona track session will be about making sure we’re efficient with our time to best ensure we have a competitive package heading into the season.

“We don’t have many days before our first race and so we quickly need to understand which areas of the car are strong and where we need to make improvements.

“I’m sure it will be a little bit of a learning curve as we all try to learn how to get the most out of the new regulations, but the objectives and the way that we focus on this car is very much the same as in previous years.

“Ultimately, we’re all still trying to get a racing car around a track as quickly as possible.”

Teams have just six days of running ahead of the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix next month, with the first three of those at Barcelona from February 23.

That will take place behind closed doors and has been dubbed a ‘shakedown’ test as teams grapple with their new machines.

From there, they’ll head to the Middle East for a further three days of testing at the Bahrain International Circuit in mid-March.

“I’m super excited for testing in Barcelona, to get back behind the wheel, push and see what the car can do,” said Latifi.

“Pre-season always feels like quite a long time, but it’s been really busy and there’s been a nice build-up at the factory with lots of hard work from everyone.

“The new regulations should allow for much better racing so I’m excited for the challenge and we will aim to gather some good data from testing, to take us into the first few races.”

Williams last year finished eighth in the constructors’ championship with 23 points, highlighted by a second place for George Russell at the Belgian ‘Grand Prix’.

That marked the squad’s biggest haul since 2017 when it finished fifth in the standings and came despite the team focusing the bulk of its efforts throughout the year on the ’22 car.

“Last season we were thrilled and proud to make such strong advancements as a team, with a number of well-earned points-scoring results in addition to a podium,” said team principal, Jost Capito.

“Looking forward, we want to build on this success, and the FW44 perfectly embodies these ambitions to return to the front of the grid.

“I look forward to witnessing this progression with Nicholas and Alex at the helm.”

Following the launch, Williams will head to Silverstone to shakedown the car as part of a ‘promotional day’, as Aston Martin did on Monday.

Williams had planned to run the FW44 on Tuesday morning only for an electrical fault to delay its plans.

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