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Alexander Albon

Albon details key Mercedes factor in determining 2026 pecking order

Alexander Albon believes Mercedes is a "safe bet" for which power unit will lead the way come 2026, admitting it factored into his decision to re-sign with Williams.

Albon Monaco
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Alexander Albon has backed Mercedes to lead from the front with its power unit when the new engine rules come into force in 2026.

The 28-year-old has also confirmed the history the German team has at being "one step ahead" of its rivals when it comes to new power unit rules was part of the decision-making process that led to him re-upping with Williams - an extension that will see him stay with the Grove-based team into the new era of regulations.

Williams was a Mercedes customer in 2014 when the hybrid power-unit period of F1 began. It was a relationship that helped the team to successive third-place finishes in the constructors' championship, taking 13 podium finishes over the first two years of the rules cycle.

“For sure it is," Albon told Total-Motorsport when discussing whether the Mercedes power unit was a factor in his decision to extend his contract at Williams.

"I think Mercedes time and time again, when it comes to these regulation changes, they seem to be one step ahead of their rivals – not to say I don’t think other teams will do a good job.

“But I think it’s at least a safe bet. When you look at maybe the other midfield teams who are bringing in a new PU I’m sure they’re going to put in a lot of money to hit the ground running.

“At the same time, I think I’m hoping that even in 2026 if we’re still in our [Williams'] building phase – obviously, I want to hit that year on top form, but if it’s not there quite yet we’ll still have a very strong power unit to go alongside us.”

Williams route 'the one I believe in'

Albon was already contracted to Williams for 2025, and his new deal will extend the partnership further. However, as recently as the off-season, the two-time podium finisher had been linked with a move away.

Whilst speculation over a Ferrari switch died upon Lewis Hamilton's shock announcement in February, both Mercedes and Red Bull remained mooted options for the Thai-British driver.

Despite this, no move back up the grid transpired, with Albon opting to settle in to the long-term project at Williams.

“There were a few options on the table to choose where I wanted to be," he explained. "When it came down to it, it just felt like the Williams route was firstly the one I know – I’ve been here a few years now – but also the one I believe in.

“The driver market is moving every week, it was moving every week when I signed my Williams deal. The more the year went on, it’s just one of those tricky situations, but the more that I believed in the team, in the project and the journey, and James [Vowles] was always reminding me of where we’re at so it kind of led to this natural decision.”

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