Alex Albon says that the Australian and Azerbaijan Grand Prix tracks suited the FW45, but notes they are still chasing the midfield pack in the long-term.
Williams have impressed in the early stages of 2023, with their car making a sizeable step forward from last year and proving particularly slippery in a straight line compared to others on the grid.
However, the Thai driver drew attention to the typical features of the street circuits, consisting of a straight-tight corner-straight pattern, and that the low-drag characteristic is something that the Williams performs with.
“They suit us a bit more than normal surfaces so I don’t want to be one of the pessimists.” Albon told media ahead of the Miami GP. “But I don’t think our car is a true car right now, we’re still racing the AlphaTauris.”
Strong start for Williams in F1 2023
Williams have delivered strong performances in the last two races as Albon qualified eighth at the Australian GP, only 0.240 seconds down on Charles Leclerc‘s Ferrari, and was running sixth before crashing out.
Albon almost sneaked into Q3 in Baku for the main race and finished 7th in the first Sprint Shootout qualifying of the year, while Logan Sargeant managed to get into Q2 for both events but crashed in the latter, meaning he could not improve upon 15th.
The former-Red Bull driver is now into his second season with the Grove-based outfit, and dismissed talk that the Williams is as good on the straights as it was in 2022. The car has added more downforce compared to its predecessor.
“We’ve not actually been dominating every speed trap,” Albon said. “We were last year but we aren’t this year. Even our Sector 2 in Melbourne we were third or fourth quickest down the straight, we weren’t the quickest, we were just very good in Turn 6 itself.
“So we’ve definitely added downforce, but we haven’t always fixed the problematic corners, these combined corners, they’re our biggest weaknesses.”
Williams heads to Miami with another chance to be in the midfield fight as the circuit bears resemblance to the layouts of Australia and Azerbaijan. Williams could be in a good place as the track around the Hard Rock Stadium has been resurfaced, meaning data gathered last year may not be consisting with 2023.
How does this benefit Williams? Albon has praised his team for arriving to Grand Prix well-prepared, perhaps even more so than their competitors, allowing the team to focus on ironing out the set-up.
“I feel like we’re going into weekends with a good baseline,” said Albon. “And because of the regulation change last year, there was a lot of discovery about each circuit.
“Now we’re in a point where it’s like ‘No this works’, we start off and we’re in a good place and it’s just fine-tuning straightaway.”