‘Williams are thriving again after years struggling’

Total-Motorsport.com take a closer look at what to expect from Williams ahead of the 2024 Formula 1 season

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Williams go into 2024 on the back of their best Formula 1 campaign for five years after they finished seventh in the Constructors’ Championship as Alex Albon starred.

Under new team principal James Vowles, Albon had some impressive drives to score points on seven occasions and his stock has risen significantly since 2022.

Logan Sargeant underperformed but did enough to be given a new contract but will be under pressure to retain his seat for 2025.

Total-Motorsport.com journalists Adam DickinsonJasmine HughesJoe Krishnan, Ed Spencer and Brandon Sutton take a look at what to expect from Williams in 2024.

Jasmine Hughes: Exciting things on the horizon

As Williams enter into the second year of Vowles era, you can’t help but feel that exciting things lie on the horizon for this iconic racing team.

Williams has an incredibly strong first driver in Albon, whilst Sargeant – now no longer a rookie – will hopefully find himself more comfortable in an F1 car.

Its 2024 challenger will have been influenced by Pat Fry, who joined the team as chief technical officer in November — which is yet another exciting prospect. The FW45 had a clear set of strengths and weaknesses, with excellent straight line speed.

If Williams can build upon these foundations and pull together a more complete package, it could be fighting right up in the midfield more often than not.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 6th place

Logan Sargeant as Williams launch FW46 for 2024 F1 season | Williams F1 Team

Adam Dickinson: I worry about the driver line-up

Vowles did a superb job in his maiden season as team principal and proved plenty of doubters (including myself) wrong, so I expect Williams to be more competitive from the get-go this season. They went scoreless from Saudi Arabia to Spain in 2023 and only once finished higher than 14th.

However, I worry about the driver line-up. I fear Sargeant may unfortunately just be too broken by his rookie season to ever develop into a competitive driver at Williams, similar to Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren or Alex Albon at Red Bull but without the previous credit in the bank to earn a second chance.

Speaking of, Albon clearly feels like that particular debt is settled at Grove after providing 96.4 percent of their points in 2023 and it’d be a surprise if he isn’t looking to move back up the grid, potentially to Mercedes or Audi.

I think Williams will score more points in 2024 but could potentially drop back slightly in the order if RB improve, and may well have an all-new driver line-up in 2025.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 8th place

James Vowles as Williams launch FW46 for 2024 F1 season | Williams F1 Team

Joe Krishnan: Williams are thriving again

We shouldn’t be surprised that under Vowles‘ management, Williams are thriving again after years struggling as the slowest team on the grid.

Albon has been a massive success in replacing George Russell and that was no easy task, so he deserves credit. He’s been very quick, finishing seven times in the top 10 last season and producing a series of seriously impressive qualifying performances – and his fourth at Zandvoort had me convinced he would be replacing Sergio Perez at Red Bull.

Even Sargeant has shown some signs of progress after a difficult rookie season, although the American knows he has to improve this year. He started 20th on the grid in a third of his 2023 races, and that can’t happen when Albon is breaching Q3 on a consistent basis.

It seems to suit Williams to have one of the top straight-line speeds, making it difficult for them to be passed as F1 further towards street circuit-style tracks.

With Albon potentially entering his final season with the team, I can see them picking up some P7s and P8s this year, potentially pushing them into the midfield area of the constructors’ standings.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 7th place

Williams launch FW46 for 2024 F1 season | Williams F1 Team

Brandon Sutton: Another encouraging year for Williams

Albon produced a strong 2023 campaign to record 27 points as Williams moved closer to the right end of grid for the first time since 2018 and under the stewardship of Vowles, that trend will continue.

They might be in the third tier of F1 in 2024 behind Red Bull, then Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin. I’d anticipate them to be fighting with Alpine and RB whilst sitting pretty ahead of Sauber and Haas.

For Sargeant, he lost the spectre of scoring his first point but the pressure hasn’t gone away, and after having year to learn the ropes it will be time for him to start delivering as a true support driver to Albon.

If not, Mick Schumacher, Felipe Drugovich, Frederik Vesti and Kimi Antonelli could be looking to usurp him. However, three of those drivers are linked to Mercedes and Vowles appears to be trying to establish Williams as an independent team again so he may not be too keen.

I think they will finish sixth, narrowly ahead of RB and closer to Alpine than in 2023, but still fairly behind. It will still be an encouraging year for them.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 8th place

Williams launch FW46 for 2024 F1 season | Williams F1 Team

Ed Spencer: Sargeant must raise his game

The feel-good factor is back at Williams after a thoroughly impressive 2023 season, which saw Albon produce several giant-killing performances and James Vowles taking to the team principal role like a duck to water.

Now, the expectations are even greater as Albon and Williams aim to use their good momentum to go one better in 2024 to potentially challenge near the front of the midfield. However, questions remain about how long Williams can keep Albon with several top teams in hot pursuit of his signature for 2025.

Sargeant’s F1 future depends on whether he can up his game after a less than promising rookie season, which saw him struggle to match Albon’s pace and crash far too often.

Vowles hasn’t lost faith in the young American, but with multiple Williams junior drivers and Mercedes prodigy Kimi Antonelli in the hunt for a seat, a poor second season might see his spell in F1 cut short.

Constructors’ Championship prediction: 7th place

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