Albon endures ‘positive frustration’ after Saudi brake failure
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 23rd March, 2023 - 2:02am
Alex Albon cut a frustrated figure following the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but was at least able to see the positives despite retiring from the race with a brake failure on his Williams.
On lap 26, and with Albon making progress and potentially in with a chance of again scoring points as he had done in Bahrain where he finished 10th, he radioed in the issue.
Around the self-proclaimed fastest street cricuit in the world, such a problem was obviously a major concern, and despite an attempt to find an electronic cure initially that ultimately proved futile, Albon retired at the end of lap 27.
“It’s not fun driving this track without brakes,” said Albon, when asked by Speedcafe about what had unfolded.
“It was about four laps it was there for. I was just getting to a point where I was about to overtake (Nico) Hulkenberg, or that’s what it felt like, and it fell away from me.
“It can either be an electronic issue or mechanical issue. Brake by wire is one of those things.
“Our brakes are electrically controlled so you try to solve it with electronics first, and then if that doesn’t fix it, you box the car and that’s what we did, so nothing dangerous, but obviously not fun.
“Luckily, there aren’t many braking places (around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit).”
Williams “in the hunt” – Albon
After a debut season last year where points came more by luck than by design, this campaign’s FW45 is clearly a cut above its predecessor.
There is pace in the car, allowing Albon to push and believe points are possible at a number of tracks this year based on performance alone.
“It (retiring) was frustrating because I have to say, I felt really strong with the car, and I feel like as a team, I’ve been really impressed,” said Albon.
“Coming from where we were last year, from where the car was, to where it is, it’s such a pleasure to drive.
“It’s frustrating because points don’t come often, and we should have scored points (in Jeddah), and we haven’t.
“I’m a little bit negative right now as we speak, but I’m positive with the progress.
“It’s just one of those things. I’d much rather be disappointed with knowing the car has got pace than just finishing at the back.
“If you had told me that last year we’d be fighting for points in both races at the start of this year, I would have been extremely excited and happy.
“When you can fight, when points are on the line, it just makes everything more exciting for me, if I’m totally honest.
“It’s more to win, more to lose, just because in the end we’re in the hunt.
“It’s that kind of positive frustration.”
Unlikely Australian GP repeat for Albon
Last year’s Australian Grand Prix proved to be one of the highlights of the season for Albon and Williams, although he feels a repeat of his 10th-placed finish at Melbourne’s Albert Park is a long shot.
The Thai-British driver managed a remarkable opening stint of 57 laps on the hard tyres before making a mandatory pit stop with one lap remaining to change compound, allowing him to sneak a remarkable point.
As to what is possible on April 2, Albon said: “Melbourne was an obvious highlight. Hopefully we can stick on the hard tyres (again) and finish the race but I don’t think it’ll be that simple.
“I don’t think it will be bad for us but I don’t think it’ll be good. It won’t be as good as Jeddah if I’m totally honest.”
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