Williams team principal James Vowles has said that Alex Albon has the “skills to become an F1 World Champion,” after the 27-year-old driver has become an instrumental part of the team’s revival.
Since Vowles assumed leadership early in 2023, Albon has been on an upward trajectory. His journey to Williams followed a hiatus year, serving as a test and reserve driver for Red Bull.
This break came after Red Bull opted for Sergio Perez to partner Max Verstappen sidelining Albon at the close of the 2020 season after a challenging six months in the seat.
Despite steering a vehicle that’s considered less competitive, Albon has demonstrated commendable prowess, achieving points finishes at a pace surpassing that of his predecessor, George Russell.
In an interview with AMuS, Vowles noted a significant evolution in Albon’s demeanor and performance since his challenging stint at Red Bull.
“The Alex you see today is different from the Alex when he was at Red Bull or the Alex at the beginning of the season. He still lacked faith in himself. He has it now. He is happy, he is a leader, he has self-confidence, he works in a structured way and sets the direction. It all sounds easy,” Upward trajectory said.
“But the simplest is often the hardest. You never know how good a driver is compared to another until you put him in the same car as the other at the same time. If other drivers had to drive a Williams tomorrow, they would probably have a hard time.”
The former Mercedes engineer expressed his conviction in Albon’s potential, emphasizing his resilience and adaptability.
“Today I know from Alex that he gets the maximum out of the car available to him at any time. And every time you put him under pressure, he withstands the pressure. He can cope with a car that is difficult to drive. This experience can be an advantage for him. For me, Alex has the skills to become world champion once. I mean that honestly.”
In the 2023 season, Albon’s remarkable performance, resulting in seven points finishes, played a pivotal role in Williams’ contention for the seventh spot in the Constructors’ Championship—a significant leap from their prior standings.
Reflecting on the team’s progress, Vowles acknowledged the transformation from the previous season, underscoring the ambitious yet grounded approach he fostered within the team.
“This is a very different Williams team from what we saw at the end of 2022 and at the beginning of the season. When I started, I didn’t set a goal in which place we would finish the World Championship. I wanted to get this team back on its feet,” Vowles said.
“I thought ninth place was realistic, eighth place was a dream. We fought for seventh place because Albon did an incredible job. He defended himself in Montreal, Silverstone, and Monza against a whole crowd of drivers who were faster than him.
“Then we managed to improve the package we have in such a way that we could drive into the points on our own. Two counters here, two there. Nevertheless, we have to stay on the carpet.
“The top teams score almost as many points on a race weekend as we do throughout the year. That’s the bar.”