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albon sargeant williams 2023 F1 launch

Williams: In a more robust position than years before

albon sargeant williams 2023 F1 launch

Williams Racing today welcomed Gulf Oil International as a prominent new sponsor but warned against expecting any quick solution to shrinking the gulf between them and Formula 1’s top teams but believe they are stronger as a team than in recent years.

The struggling former F1 champions, who finished 10th and last in 2022, showed off their new look at the Grove factory with rookie U.S. driver Logan Sargeant joining experienced Anglo-Thai Alex Albon.

New team principal and former Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles will not start work at the Grove factory until 20 February — a week after the car makes its track debut at Silverstone.

Albon said making clear progress was the main target, and hoped Williams could be regulars in the second phase of qualifying and be closer than 2022.

“I don’t think it will be something like a Haas, where they came out of the blocks and straight away very competitive,” Albon said, referring to rivals who were last in 2021 but started 2022 with a fifth place and points in three of the first four rounds.

“We have changed quite a lot of the car in terms of its philosophy … that might take a bit of time to understand and optimise. In terms of upgrades last year, we only had really one significant one. Hopefully we can be able to bring out possibly smaller and more frequent ones.

“I don’t think we’re going to come out of the blocks firing but we just need to be smart. We did it already last year. We did start the year on the back foot and we started scoring points around midway,” added the Williams driver.

The departure of Latifi money has not had a big impact on the team

Gulf have switched their sponsorship from McLaren with branding prominent on the matt blue car, while U.S. beer brand Michelob Ultra has joined along with investment banking partner Stephens.

Several companies linked to Canadian former driver Nicholas Latifi have meanwhile departed Williams, leaving plenty of room for sponsors.

“I think there’s a perception about lost revenue from recent changes … the reality is slightly different,” said Williams commercial director James Bower.

“We are launching a number of new partners as we go into the season as well so I think we are in a more robust position than the team’s been in for a number of years,” explained Bower.

The backmarker Williams team of today is a fry car from the heyday of the team Sir Frank Williams built. They last won a F1 title when Jacques Villeneuve did the business in 1997.

Records show Sir Frank’s team has nine F1 constructors’ titles to their name, only Ferrari have more; while a great many of the F1’s legends have driven for the team, from Alan Jones, their first F1 world champion in 1980 to their final one with Jacques.

Other F1 greats to win Championships with Williams, include: Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost and Damon Hill. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Additional reporting GP247))