Team Principal James Vowles‘ assertion that the FW45 isn’t just a “one-trick pony” bodes well for the Williams team in the current race season. The team’s performance so far, scoring 21 points and taking the lead over Haas, Alfa Romeo, and AlphaTauri, seems to validate Vowles’ confidence.
Alex Albon has been a powerhouse for Williams, scoring multiple points even as teammate Logan Sargeant has yet to make a mark. Impressively, Albon has had strong runs at high-speed tracks traditionally favoring the FW45, with strong finishes at Montreal, Monza, Silverstone, and Bahrain.
A key point highlighting the FW45‘s viability in all races was Albon’s eighth-place finish at Zandvoort. He displayed consistent speed throughout the event, placing well in all three practice sessions and securing a fourth position in the qualifying round.
Unfortunately, an incorrect tire-related call during initial rainfall hampered Albon’s race, resulting in an eighth-place finish. However, Vowles succinctly recalled, “As always with these things, you tend to get greedy. If you said to me before we started you want an eighth? Yeah, absolutely, I’ll take that, thanks very much.”
Vowles believes Zandvoort demonstrated the FW45 could compete on any type of circuit. He emphasized, “We have tracks now that show we are not just a one-trick pony, a number of tracks we’re moving forward at.”
Looking forward, the team’s focus is to keep adding downforce to the FW45 without compromising the car’s straight-line speed. Dave Robson, Head of Performance, believes it’s possible, reiterating that though Zandvoort conditions were favorable, and traditional tracks like Barcelona might still be challenging, they have achieved good results at Monza.
As the final eight races of 2023, including three sprint events, two street tracks, and potential rainfall races, kick off, Williams hopes are high. Robson mentioned, “It creates some opportunity. But at the same time, it takes away some opportunity to do some half-decent testing.”
Next weekend’s Singapore GP presents another test for Williams. Despite being a high downforce track, Robson is hopeful the track changes might be advantageous to them.
However, no FW45 enhancements are planned for the year’s end, as Williams has shifted the focus to the future. “The car we have, that’s it,” assures Vowles. This shift towards future seasons comes with the mission to be competitive beyond the 7th, 8th or even 9th positions. It’s a price they are willing to pay now, to bolster their chances in the upcoming seasons.