Formula 1 Racing

Why Williams F1 team is racing to repair Albon’s crashed car for Suzuka

Alex Albon, Williams Racing FW46

The team does not currently have a spare chassis, so following the Thai driver’s huge crash in FP1 in Australia on Friday the decision was taken to switch him to Logan Sargeant’s car, leaving the American on the sidelines.

Team principal James Vowles has confirmed that the third chassis is still so far behind schedule that rather than fast track its completion the team will instead repair the crashed tub.

It is being flown back to UK and is due to arrive at the Grove factory in the early hours of Monday morning.

The fact that the team is in such a difficult situation is a reflection of the outdated processes that Vowles and his chief technical officer Pat Fry observed when they saw the FW46 come together at the last minute. 

Against a background of ongoing efforts to change and update processes, making two complete race cars and spares, plus the upgrades planned over the first three races, soaked up all available resources. The third chassis slipped far behind schedule.

To his credit Vowles has been completely open about what has transpired in Melbourne, both in terms of the difficult decision to bench Sargeant and the bigger picture of the weaknesses that have left the team in such a precarious situation.

“When I started in February last year, the plan was to have three chassis at round one,” he explains.

“As we went through large changes in organisation, having performance and technology changes in the back end and process, we started to push out fundamentally certain elements of things.

“There’s a finite amount of resources. And as we were going through an inefficient structure, and making transformation at the same time, we started to cause problems.

“And those problems before could have translated to adding metal [rather than carbon] components, or last year’s rear wings. In this particular case, the third chassis started to get delayed and delayed and delayed.

“And I think one of the things that we’ve been transparent about is we were very late with these cars – very, very late. We pushed everything to the absolute limit. And the fallout of that is we didn’t have a spare chassis.

“Even then it was intended to be coming here, at round three. But it got delayed and delayed again.”

Alex Albon, Williams Racing FW46

Photo by: Williams

In essence, the team made its life difficult over the winter by trying to improve its ways of working and making a better car.

“If you go back to root cause it’s…

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