Alexander Albon has high hopes for the progress Williams will make with its first significant upgrade of the season, but he acknowledges that it may take some time to realize its full potential.
Only Albon's car has received an upgrade package for this weekend's British Grand Prix. He stated that the new vehicle's design resembles Red Bull's.
“As you’ve seen, everyone’s been going towards a certain concept,” said Albon. “Everyone started a bit different and it’s either the kind of the Ferrari concept or the Red Bull concept that seems to be adopted and our one looks more like the Red Bull car. But I wouldn’t call it a like-for-like.”
Williams are now at the bottom of the standings after nine races. Albon stated that "much effort" has gone into the improvement. "This is a major revision. There are few parts on the car that are the same as they were two weeks ago. Thus, it is quite large."
However, he dispelled rumors that the team anticipates gaining up to a second per lap from the altered aerodynamics.
“It’s hard to say what we’ll do,” he said. “I think a second is very… if we took that, we would be very, very happy. But until we drive the car we won’t really know.”
It may take more than one race for the team to unlock the performance of their redesigned car, according to him.
“I think what you’ll see especially on Friday is us trying to figure out how to deal with the car and see what what we can do in terms of ride height windows and balance tuning, whatever it may be. Because we might end up on Friday with a very different car and it will take a bit of time to get used to.
“Maybe not even this weekend, it might take a bit more than that. So there’s no numbers on it, I think it would be silly to do that, but we obviously are hoping for a very good improvement.”
Albon stated that the team was unable to produce enough components for Nicholas Latifi to also operate the update.
“Obviously Silverstone’s close and the guys have worked really hard,” he said. “The car was ready very late and that’s a testament to everyone working hard at the factory.
“It’s a much-needed upgrade, of course. Whether it works as amazing as it could or whatever it may be, it’s been a real team effort to get it here.
“There’s still things coming in not just for this race, but even to Austria and beyond that I think we’ll hopefully have a bit more of a better base package that we can start still developing some improvement.”
Due to the team's limited supply of spare components, he acknowledged he will have to take it easy initially. "As you can see, it will be difficult with only one automobile," he added. "I will not be pushing to the limit in turn nine [Copse] on the first lap, that is certain. We'll be careful to maintain stability."
Albon expects that the update will bring them closer to the rest of the midfield, as competitors such as Aston Martin have surpassed them in recent races.
“In terms of positioning, obviously we want to be fighting more into Q2, more into the midfield, more into the points,” he said. “A very good weekend for us right now, when we put it all together, is at the very bottom of the points-slash-P11, P12.
“So realistically speaking, on paper, we are not quick enough, we know that, and there is a little bit of a gap even to the ninth-fastest car. Especially with the Astons now making that step that they’ve done, it left us behind a little bit.
“If we can get back into that group – you see it every weekend, there’s always a different car getting into Q3 in that midfield pack – of course if we can have opportunities where we can fight in them positions that’s really what we need, we need to be in front of the others in the constructors’ championship.”