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Formula 1 Canadian GP

How Monaco showed a glimpse of Williams F1's on-weight potential

As Williams battles to get its car down to Formula 1's weight limit and bring upgrades, the Monaco Grand Prix has shown what the team could be capable of later this year.

Williams undertook a huge effort to take 14kg out of its car compared to last year, but the Grove-based team still needs to reduce its chassis weight by a similar number to get to the minimum weight limit of 798kg.

The added weight is expected to cost the team around 0.45s on a more regular circuit like Imola, masking some of the progress the team has made in recent months.

But in Monaco, Alex Albon secured the first points for Williams of the 2024 campaign with a ninth place in both qualifying and the race.

Albon got into Q2 ahead of cars from RB and Alpine, as well as both Aston Martins, going on to qualify within seven tenths of Charles Leclerc's pole in Q3.

With the tight street circuit layout penalising its additional weight to a lesser extent, the weekend demonstrated what Williams is capable of once it can shave more pounds from its FW46, with the caveat that it is not the only team currently above the weight limit.

"On paper, this track is the least weight penalising track of the year," Albon said. "I think Monza is the most and Monaco is the least.

"It makes it not fair game, but a fairer game around here. Also, the DNA of the car has changed a lot from last year. And if you think about the areas we tried to focus on, it was low-speed, tight corners, which is exactly what this track is."

When asked by Autosport if the Monaco result was a glimpse of Williams' true potential once the weight comes off, he replied: "It is, but weight is not that easy to lose. At least it isn't for us.

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Alex Albon, Williams FW46

Photo by: Mark Sutton

"We've got some work to do to try to shake it off. But we've known that. We know our deltas every weekend when we compare where we are to where we could have been.

"We do need to fix some parts and try to not be overweight because I think we could have performances like this a little bit more often."

PLUS: Is the Williams revival still on track?

But while there is some optimism over Williams' own runway for improvement this year, the team's Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson cautioned that it will be tough for the squad to out-develop its nearest rivals, with production delays and crash damage putting the team on the back foot in terms of rolling out upgrades.

"Where we are now, it's quite difficult," he said.

"It's a shame we weren't able to bring the updates earlier, build on the pace and the underlying qualities of the car at the start of the season.

"I think now we are probably fighting with Sauber most of the time. The car will get lighter as we go on and there are some mechanical and some aero updates that will that will come.

"But it's a bit hard to see how we will out-develop those teams over the course of the next five or six months because they've already got a bit of a head start on us.

"We will bring upgrades and we'll certainly try and get back towards the front of that back group.

"The aim is to try and keep on the coattails of Alpine and Haas."

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