Alex Albon admits negotiating with multiple rivals before opting to stick with Williams

“Inevitably, it just fell down to what team do I think suited me best"

Alex Albon
Alex Albon

Alex Albon has opened up on his decision to stay with Williams after talking to several rival F1 teams.

Williams confirmed a major boost with a new multi-year agreement penned with their star driver Albon.

Ahead of this weekend’s F1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, Albon admitted he chose Williams ahead of other alternative options.

“I won't say what teams that I was speaking to, but there were a few,” he said.

“Inevitably, it just fell down to what team do I think suited me best and that was Williams.

“So, looking at everything, there was obviously a lot of time to make a choice.

“It does seem a little bit now like it's all just kind of being a bit of a waiting game and everyone just kind of delaying, delaying and whatnot.

“So, on my side, it was just about get it done, get it signed and focus more on building the story and focusing on the future for the team.”

Albon had previously been mentioned as a future option for F1’s top teams.

Mercedes have a vacancy in 2025 when Lewis Hamilton exits, and Red Bull may have a space in each of the next two years depending on Sergio Perez’s future.

But Albon insisted he wasn’t tempted to wait for those opportunities.

“No, it's all about the journey,” he said.

“I think to look elsewhere and to see the ifs, buts and maybes, there's a lot of moving parts.

“Especially around these kind of seats going on right now. There's only really one at Mercedes.

“A lot has to happen and there's a lot of different ways.”

Albon confirmed that his new contract does not include a clause which allows him to have a say on his teammate. Logan Sargeant, currently in the other Williams, has an uncertain future.

Albon said that despite speaking to prospective new employers, his priority was always to pen a new deal with Williams.

He never wavered, he insists: “No. Of course, keep my options open and talk to other teams.

“Obviously, the triggers were super early, generally this year. I would say to sign a contract now in May is still very early.

“The focus was purely to just get on with it. We have a big journey ahead of us.

“We're not hiding around that. It's nice to be able to go into the rest of this year now really just thinking about where are the areas in the team that we really need to change and move and develop.

“What areas in the car, especially from a more personal driving point of view, are we not fixing and focusing on?

“When you're going through contract negotiations and all this kind of stuff, that doesn't really exist too much.

“It's more about the present and just focusing on the performances and all that kind of thing over the weekend.

“But now, there is stability and there is a focus now towards really building that team. I think James Vowles has said it before, but he's very focused on me being a part of that journey and that project.

“I believe my role here with the team is not just being a racing driver. It's much more than that.”

Alex Albon names James Vowles as key reason to stay

Albon is into his third year with Williams. His best result of 2024 is P11 in Saudi Arabia and Australia.

The season has been underpinned by the chassis fiasco in Japan; when Albon crashed, his teammate Sargeant was asked to step out of his car so that Albon could take over because they did not have a spare chassis.

Team principal James Vowles acknowledged that Williams have some way to go before realising their potential.

“It's firstly a team that I've been with. I know the team; I know the people in the team,” Albon said about the reasons to renew his alliance with Williams.

“I believe in the project. I believe in James and the board. So, I think the ceiling at Williams is higher than what we're showing at the moment.

“And clearly, to me, especially around our direct rivals that we're racing against right now, I think when I look at what the team should be able to achieve in the next few years, it should be higher than the teams we're racing at right now.

“All of it was really just down to knowing James and knowing the project that was at hand. In some ways, I wish we started off in a better way because it would have made everything seem a little bit more logical.

“But at the end of it all, there are seismic movements going on behind the scenes at the team. It's going to take a bit more time to truly reflect that.

“I didn't feel pressured in terms of a time sense. It was just giving the team time to see what kind of direction the team were taking and seeing the steps forward.

“Speaking closely with James as well, seeing what he was doing in the team and what steps he was taking to bring us up the field. And I believe it.”

Albon said about the ‘seismic’ changes he expects from Vowles: “He's said it a lot of times, the out-of-date procedures that we're doing or even the software or wherever it may be.

“When you think about where we are in terms of performance now, still fighting on the fingers of points, still able to compete where we are, a lot of that is just down to the people we have within Williams.

“But the foundational part of the team still needs work on and you can see a lot of these changes already happening. You see this huge shift.

“I don't know if it's right for me to say what are they, but I see it, I'm part of it. I believe in it.

“I see the steps that the team are taking and they all seem very logical and they seem to be working already.

“As I said, it's partly why the car was delayed and whatnot, was making these big changes. It's taken time. The foundations now are becoming solid and I don't think they were there a few years ago.”

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