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Williams: A Season Of Progress in 2023

Alexander Albon at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix (Photo: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images)

It’s been a long time since Williams has been a team contending toward the front of the Formula 1 grid. The historic team has had a bad streak over the last few years, but 2023 seemed to be a year of recovery and progress for the British team. It went from being last on the standings in 2022 to 7th place in 2023.

The FW45 was the second most improved car, just behind the season’s sensation, Aston Martin. Williams’ head of vehicle dynamics, Dave Robson, noticed the 2023 livery had progressed compared to the FW44, which lacked downforce and was tricky and unreliable to drive. The 2023 livery was still inconsistent some of the time, with low downforce tracks inevitably favoring it.

“It’s strange because a lot of people think we’re very inconsistent, but I personally think the execution of each weekend has been very consistent,” Williams driver Alex Albon said. “We know what tracks don’t work for us.”

There were other changes made at the Grove-based team for the 2023 season. At the end of 2022, James Vowles was appointed as Williams’ Team Principal. He brought a fresh mindset to the team and showed patience and comprehension, which was highlighted at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, where he showed empathy towards his rookie driver, Logan Sargeant, who couldn’t bear the extreme conditions of the Grand Prix.

With a new team principal and a slightly more consistent car, the team managed to score important points. But this didn’t exclude them from making regular mistakes with the strategies. One of the most noticeable mistakes came at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, where even Vowles admitted they messed up Albon’s strategy not once, but twice. The main error was committing to the slicks even when rain threatened to soak the circuit. Albon still managed to score points at the end of the race.

Alexander Albon (13th on the standings with 27 points)

Moving onto the drivers, Alex Albon was clearly the head driver of the British team. He out-qualified Sargeant at every single round. The Thai driver reached Q3 on seven occasions and only failed to get out of Q1 five times. He made the top 10 seven times in 2023 and his only real mistake was when he spun off the Australian Grand Prix.

Albon showed amazing development as a driver and person. His coolness under pressure and racecraft stand out overall. His performance single-handedly earned Williams its best Constructors Championship finish in six years. 

“I’m very proud of my performance,” said Albon. “I’m not the most arrogant person I would say, but I will give myself credit, I feel like I’ve had a very strong season.”

“What you’ve seen this year with Alex, and I think he’d mirror the same comment, is he’s really transformed in himself,” Vowles said on Albon’s 2023 season to Sky Sports. “His confidence has grown enormously and a lot about driving the car on the limits is belief in yourself, belief in the infrastructure around you and the team, and that’s what’s changed. He really does believe in where we are and what he is capable of doing.”

Williams driver Alexander Albon (Photo: Vogue Man Arabia)

Logan Sargeant (21st on the standings with 1 point)

The American rookie driver didn’t have the most outstanding season in 2023. Being one of the three rookies entering the top category in motorsport, he had huge expectations laid on him. While Nyck de Vries saw himself out of F1 mid-season and Oscar Piastri’s future seemed brighter every race, Sargeant found himself somewhere in between. 

As the season progressed, Albon seemed to get more comfortable with the car while Sargeant made many costly mistakes. The rookie driver unfortunately became the most expensive driver in terms of crash damages at the end of the 2023 season, having accumulated nearly $4 million in repair costs.

He managed to score his first F1 points at the United States Grand Prix. He had a strong race and managed to finish P12, but after Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton were disqualified due to irregularities spotted in their cars by the FIA Technical team, the American driver was promoted to P10.

At the end of the season, Sargeant’s future was uncertain. Many doubted if he was gonna get re-signed by the team for the 2024 season. Fortunately, he was given another year to develop his full potential and showcase the skills that got him to F1.

“There was optionality, there were other choices. But we’ve invested in him because I believe in him. He is fiercely fast when he gets it right and all together,” James Vowles said to Sky Sports, explaining the decision to bring back Sargeant. “He needs the environment now where he can grow and do more of that next year and that’s why he deserves more of an opportunity.”

Williams driver Logan Sargeant (Photo: Getty Images)


The 2023 season was a step forward for Williams, who hasn’t had the easiest few years. It decided to keep their driver line-up the same with Albon taking the role of the experienced driver while nurturing Sargeant’s potential. The 2024 season is looking bright for the British team, who looks forward to climbing even more on the standings. We already had a McLaren comeback, so why not have a Williams comeback, too?

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