Williams hit by huge repair bill after Albon and Sargeant crashes

Williams are paying the heavy price for their drivers' mistakes in Australia and Japan.

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Williams have discovered the financial cost of damage and repair works to Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant’s cars following their respective crashes at the Formula 1 2024 Australia and Japan Grands Prix.

The Grove team have been plagued by three major incidents over the past two race weekends, which could end up costing them millions of pounds and casts doubt over their ability to enter two cars into the Chinese GP, according to reports.

Repairs included replacing the floor, spoilers and suspension components, while two new gearboxes were fitted to the respective cars – all to the tune of around £1.6million ($2m) according to The Race.

Albon suffered the worst accident at the Australian GP after his high-speed smash into the wall during Free Practice 1, rendering his car as undrivable for the rest of the weekend. As the team didn’t have a spare chassis with them, Sargeant was told to step out of the car for Albon to drive – with the British-Thai driver holding a better chance of scoring points.

Alexander Albon looks on at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Williams F1 Team
Alex Albon suffered two consecutive retirements. | Williams F1 Team

However, the controversial gamble backfired as Albon finished 11th and therefore outside of the points in Melbourne. The destroyed chassis was sent to their factory in the UK to be fixed the following day, which delayed the preparation of a spare chassis that they desperately needed.

It meant Williams only had two of those parts available for the Japanese GP and disaster struck when they suffered two more incidents. Sargeant then crashed his car in FP1, while Albon was forced to retire after colliding with RB’s Daniel Ricciardo and being sent into the barrier.

A blow for Williams now and in the future

In the era of the cost cap, losing such a significant chunk of their budget just four races into the season could be hugely damaging for Williams.

While every team makes allowances for crashes and replacement parts in its budget projections, few would have predicted such an expensive bill at this stage of the 2024 season.

Even if the British team haven’t surpassed the limit, there are still 20 races left in the season to avoid similar crashes, and Albon admits their development budget for upgrades will likely decrease to make funds available.

“We know the scope [of the damage], it’s not something to hide,” Albon said his crash in Japan. “It’s just a lot of time and effort to repair rather than develop and then focus on updates. So yes, it will take its toll later in the season.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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