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Alexander Albon

Albon teases more positive Chinese GP despite car criticism

Alex Albon believes the uncertainty of the Chinese Grand Prix poses an opportunity for Williams to score its first points of the F1 season, viewing the FW46 as a car not currently capable of scoring points on merit.

Albon Japan
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Alex Albon is turning to the Chinese Grand Prix as the “perfect place” for Williams to open its 2024 points-scoring account.

The most recent round, at Suzuka, proved to be another disappointing weekend for Albon and Williams.

A first lap incident with Daniel Ricciardo forced the 28-year-old into an early retirement. Meanwhile, team-mate Logan Sargeant had been able to work his way up the order, but a poor pit stop, and an off-track moment saw him end the race as last of the finishers.

“Precisely that,” he responded to media including RacingNews365 when asked if the upcoming race weekend in China presents opportunities for Williams.

“I don't think at the minute we've got a car that can genuinely score points. Maybe on a track that suits us, but we haven't really found that so far this year.”

Last term, carried by Albon’s impressive haul of 27 points, Williams secured seventh place in the constructors’ standings, the team’s best championship finish since 2017 – giving the impression the team was on the right trajectory, after ending a run of finishing last in four out of the previous five campaigns.

'Everyone's going to China underprepared'

However, it has been a difficult start to the current F1 season for the nine-time constructors’ winners. After underwhelming weekends in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the Grove-based outfit had its operational and financial deficiencies exposed at the Australian Grand Prix.

Alex Albon's practice crash forced team principal James Vowles into the hard call of benching Logan Sargeant for the remainder of the weekend.

Critical damage to Albon’s chassis rendered his car unusable, and having not yet built a spare, Williams was left with only one car to run in the race – with Vowles opting to put Albon back in at the expense of Sargeant.

Despite managing to fix the broken chassis for the Japanese Grand Prix, the issues laid bare by the episode in Melbourne will not be remedied by the Miami Grand Prix at the earliest, leaving the team vulnerable at the Chinese Grand Prix as well.

However, with the trip to the Shanghai International Circuit being the first time F1 will race there for five years, with the added insecurity of it being a sprint event and there being a new track surface, Albon has spotted an opening.

“China is the perfect place,” the two-time podium finisher mused, adding: "Everyone's going to go to China underprepared, not knowing what to expect, and that's where you can capitalise and do better than other people - so there's a big opportunity.”

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