‘We would be wasting our money’: Williams boss defends driver decision

George Russell left Williams at the end of 2021 and was replaced by Alex Albon.

It was a challenging 2022 campaign for Williams, with the Grove-based team having returned to the foot of the Constructors’ Championship.

Their fall back to the bottom comes on the back of 2021, which was a massively improved year for the British side, who claimed eighth in the standings after some impressive drives from George Russell and Nicholas Latifi.

In 2021, Williams claimed 23 points in the championship. In 2022, they claimed just 8.

They were comfortably bottom of the standings, with Latifi having been consistently last whilst Alex Albon battled in the midfield.

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Albon was, of course, brought into the team after Russell finally switched to Mercedes, and it’s fair to say the Thai driver took on the role of team leader without a shadow of a doubt.

Interestingly, Williams team principal Jost Capito revealed that he asked Russell to help choose the team’s 2022 line-up, with Capito aware that the side needed a “proper team atmosphere”.

“Last year, I also spoke with George,” Capito told RacingNews365.

“You need a proper team atmosphere and just don’t surprise a driver with his teammate.

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“You have to trust your guys and if you don’t, then it is difficult if they are [not] involved in this process.

“I’m always very close with drivers and if you are, you can talk to them about everything – and they then feel confident as well.

“They know where they are, where they stand with the team and with me, so it is much easier.

“You [also] need a certain consistency in your management style that people expect without [any surprises].”

2023 will see another big change in the team’s line-up, with Latifi having been dropped by the famous side.

His replacement, though, is an incredibly exciting one, as Williams Academy driver Logan Sargeant will partner Albon.

Williams seemingly have huge faith in the recent F2 driver, who achieved the result he needed at Abu Dhabi to acclaim enough superlicence points for F1.

Sargeant has completed several FP1 sessions for the team, in a bid to not only help him gain enough superlicence points but also to help him get used to the F1 environment.

The American “has to learn” during his rookie year, according to Capito, who is prepared to “lose some points” as a result of taking onboard a rookie driver.

“It is obvious that we will lose some points because a rookie has to learn – it is different from somebody who is experienced,” admitted the Williams boss.

“But if you look at the long term, [Sargeant] is why we did the Academy.

“If we weren’t willing to [put him in], then we would be wasting our money with the Academy.

“I am a fan of bringing the young guy in as quick as possible, because if he got used to a new category in F2, if he is doing that learning process, he can continue to learn in F1 much quicker than if he did the same thing for year.

“The earlier is better for us because we know we will not be highly competitive next year, so now we have a chance to get the young driver in and a top team can’t really afford that.”

Albon is remaining with the team again in 2023, with the former Red Bull driver having become a brilliant “character” for the side.

Williams tied him down to a long-term contract during the year, meaning Albon will be seen in a Williams for the foreseeable future.

Capito also revealed how “supportive” Albon has been in the team getting Sargeant into the side, demonstrating the personality traits that Capito wants in the team.

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“It is his character,” Capito explained.

“He was very supportive in getting Logan in because he is really happy to help a young guy – I think he has seen it in himself in the past.

“His personality is like: ‘I want a strong teammate, if I can build him up it can be a long-term thing.’