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Albon: Williams F1 team made “braver” choice with ‘skinny wing’ in Japan

Alex Albon says that his Williams Formula 1 team has made a brave choice by going for a “skinny” wing at Suzuka this weekend.

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Last year’s Williams FW45 was noted for its top speed, which allowed it to shine on certain tracks and propel Albon into the points.

But for 2024, the Grove outfit has tried to develop a car that is more consistently competitive at a range of circuits.

That in turn has seen the car lose the straightline advantage that it has previously enjoyed, with Albon noting in Jeddah that he now had to do his overtaking in the corners, rather than on the straights.

Albon, who just made it into Q2 in Suzuka and lines up 14th on the grid for Sunday’s race, admitted that the car was not well-suited to the track, and that had prompted a search for more speed on the straights.

“I would say there's a couple of areas with this year's car that are slightly worse than last year's,” he said. “Not many, but there are, and this track has a lot of those corners, these kind of longer, medium/high-speed corners.

“So we're struggling a bit more in sector one. But at the same time, honestly if you look at our straight-line speed, it's no a secret, we've got less of wing than everyone else. So I hope it helps us in the race. We kind of gone down a skinny wing choice this weekend.

“We feel like the last couple races we could have been a bit skinnier than we were. So we've been a bit braver this weekend, and done it. So let's see if it pays off [in the race].”

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Albon had a slide at Spoon corner on his quick lap in Q2, but he downplayed the significance of it.

“Yeah, but I kept my foot in it,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com about his moment. “So it didn't really lose me much time. It would have improved my lap time, but I don't think my position.

“It is a tricky track, I think you see even in Q3 that the track is so abrasive. It's that old school tarmac. So it really rips the tyre when you slide it a bit too much.

“And as you go through qualifying, and you start driving faster and faster, you go quicker [but then] you go slower as the tyre starts to overheat.

“I got caught out a little bit in Spoon, just went a bit quicker and paid the price. I could feel the rears going off a bit more than it did on the Q1 lap. I mean, all in all, it's not been a great weekend for us, been a little bit on the backfoot.”

But he was encouraged by the update package introduced in Japan: “It's not where we want to be, but at the same time, upgrades still on plan.

“I was trying a different front wing this weekend. Some things I think are better, but I still need to fully understand what it does. So we're still making inroads, it's just we need to make more.”

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