[Albon: AlphaTauri’s current F1 form “worrying” for Williams
After a strong run of points finishes for Albon, Williams is currently in a solid seventh in the championship on 21 points, ahead of Haas on 12, Alfa Romeo on 10, and AlphaTauri on five.
However, while Williams has no new parts coming through the system for the FW45 as it focuses on its 2024 car, its rivals have continued to bring updates, with AlphaTauri introducing a new package in Singapore and Haas scheduling a major change for Austin.
The AlphaTauri updates had an instant impact at the Marina Bay street track, where Yuki Tsunoda topped Q1 before losing out in a scrappy Q2, and Liam Lawson made Q3 in 10th.
In the race, the latter scored his first points in ninth after his team-mate retired on the first lap.
At Suzuka, which the Faenza team regarded a more representative test of the new parts, Tsunoda and Lawson qualified ninth and 11th respectively.
In the race the team failed to score after Tsunoda slipped out of the top 10, much to the Japanese driver’s frustration, but Albon says that AlphaTauri’s potential is clear.
“I think they boxed themselves, I was really surprised by their tyre choice,” he said of AlphaTauri’s race.
“They gave themselves only one medium, one hard, and I think Yuki didn’t even have a new soft. So they were in a tricky spot the whole race, and probably gave up a bit too much for Saturday, instead of Sunday.
“But the thing is, we rest assured this weekend, but they were quick in Singapore. And they’re going to be quick again in every circuit. I think their step has been quite significant, and a little bit worrying.”
Alex Albon, Williams Racing, on the grid
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Williams’ director of performance Dave Robson agreed that AlphaTauri is now a threat to his team’s ability to regularly make the top 10.
“I think Vegas will be interesting, because it’s new and it’s Vegas,” he said when asked about the FW45’s potential for the rest of the year.
“I think that might suit the car reasonably well. But that said, it is such a big unknown. And what will the tarmac surface be like? I’m quite looking forward to going back to Qatar actually, to see how we get on there.
“But I think they’re all going to be reasonably difficult now with the AlphaTauri the way it is. It’s going to be tough to score too many more points.”
Tsunoda conceded that AlphaTauri had got its strategy wrong in Suzuka.
Asked if the team had underperformed thus far with its revised car, he said: “I would say we are making most of it. I mean, at least my side.
“Obviously we didn’t expect this much degradation in the race, but other teams had hard tyres, we did not. So some things to look out for the future.”
Additional reporting by Filip Cleeren