Alexander Albon, Williams, Suzuka, 2022

Williams looking for a driver “who will push Alex along” in 2023

2023 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Williams, one of two Formula 1 teams yet to confirm their 2023 driver line-up, are looking for “someone who will push” Alexander Albon.

Last month the team announced it will not retain Nicholas Latifi when his third season at Williams ends in four races’ time. Latifi has scored three times in 57 races to date, and in qualifying has only been the faster Williams driver on five occasion.

He outqualified one-time team mate Jack Aitken in 2020, and took 35 attempts before he bettered George Russell in a qualifying session. Russell contributed almost 70% of the points Williams scored in their two seasons as team mates.

Latifi has twice beaten F1 returnee Albon in qualifying this year, although the first time Albon failed to set a lap due to a brake fire. Nyck de Vries started and finished ahead of Latifi while substituting for the sidelined Albon at the Italian Grand Prix.

Williams’ head of vehicle performance Dave Robson outlined what the team is expecting from its new 2023 hiring. “We need someone who will push Alex along and will be fighting with him every race,” he said.

“Ideally someone who is after similar traits from the car. We’ll see where we go. But all we want to do is have two competitive cars pushing each other into Q2, Q3 and beyond.”

De Vries reached Q2 on his debut and was considered for a seat in 2023, having impressed with his performance there and in a practice session earlier in the season. But he chose to join AlphaTauri for his first full season in F1.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

In the first practice session for the next round at Circuit of the Americas, Latifi will lend his car to Formula 2 racer Logan Sargeant, a Williams junior and the leading candidate to replace him for next year should he score the necessary points for a FIA superlicence.

Albon has been described as having “a very positive input on the team”, and Williams are seeking an equal to partner their lead points scorer of this season.

“It was a shame to lose George and all of the input that he’d had but Alex has jumped in, he’s got experience of what quick cars feel like and he’s fitted in very well,” Robson added.

“And he strikes that right balance as well, I think, between understanding what’s possible, but at the same time pushing and motivating everybody. So he’s a great influence and he works hard and really pushes us along.

“In terms of what they’re trying to achieve, then yes, of course, they [Albon and Russell] are very similar, similarly motivated and they want to achieve the same thing. In terms of their personality traits, then they’re quite different.

“Alex, I think can come across as being very quiet and mild-mannered, and very friendly. And he is, but at the same time he is pushing hard. So I think the way their enthusiasm manifests itself is a little bit different and inevitably, that takes a little bit of time to get used to and as we understand each other. There’s enough similarities there that Alex can push us along and pick up where George left off.”

View the current list of 2023 F1 drivers and teams

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

38 comments on “Williams looking for a driver “who will push Alex along” in 2023”

  1. Apparently Ricciardo don’t want to lower his standards to Williams or Williams can’t afford him?

    1. And what if Ricciardo were to be on loan to Williams as a Mercedes AMG reserve driver? It would be a good way for Mercedes to evaluate him instead of keeping him idle in his reserve role.

      1. Exactly this! It’s what they did with Russell after all and DR would have exposure to the Merc PU

        1. christopheraser
          14th October 2022, 10:06

          Pretty sure he has been driving with a merc power unit for two seasons now.

        2. George was 20 – the Moneybadger is getting 34…

          1. Is there no Mercedes junior drivers to be considered for the seat?

      2. @Olivier – No. He isn’t that kind of driver.

        1. Won’t happen ,he is driving for Gene Haas next year ,l can’t only assume in F1 ..according to Zak and a hot mic

    2. Apparently Ricciardo don’t want to lower his standards to Williams

      As a Williams fan who remembers their glory years both fondly and clearly…this hurts.

      1. I hear you. It makes me so sad that a driver, even one who is not held in very high regard at the moment, would rather take a test driver role than drive at Williams. I am not a Ricciardo fan but would love to see him on a one year loan at Williams and also test driver for Mercedes. I mean – do test drivers even do that much these days??

        1. @dot_com Test drivers don’t do much these days, but even if he moved to Williams (which won’t happen in any case), he’d solely be with them rather than have anything with Merc, simply because he isn’t that kind of driver.

      2. @geemac I am sorry for the hurt that I caused. Williams is still one of my favourite teams and it hurts to see them trundling at the back. But I think they are in a much better shape now than a couple of years ago so I am hopeful.

  2. Push Albon along … with a wheel-barrow full of cash?

  3. Mick Schumacher?

    1. Schumacher is certainly an upgrade over latifi, when haas was terrible the last year he sometimes challenged\beat him.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        14th October 2022, 13:01

        And his Uncle drove there too

        1. His uncle is also his manager but i think a American is going to take the seat.

          1. No – Sabine Kehm, who managed Schumi after Willy Weber, manages Mick.

          2. @macleod Yes, Sargeant is the priority, but only if he can reach SL eligibility.

  4. Altough i would love to see Doohan ir Sargeant on this place it’s a bit soon for that, i Recon Daniel Ric is their best options and his too, if take a sabbatical year i’m not seeing him return

    1. Indeed, it’s a very difficult situation for him, if he goes to williams he might not get back to a decent team any more and if he takes a year off he might not get back to a team at all.

  5. This is probably the best and last spot left for Ricciardo to stay on the grid. An Albon/Ricciardo lineup would certainly be strong even if the car wasn’t, and would give Ricciardo a good place to rebuild a reputation. I think he probably feels he’s too good for it though.

    1. But do Williams want to reciprocate with a deal if their long term objective might be to get one of their academy drivers into the team in the near future?

      Sargeant is in the mix, and might be attractive if he is seen as a way to open up possible commercial opportunities from the USA given his nationality and the push to get drivers from the USA into the sport by Liberty Media.

      1. A one year deal for ricciardo would be ideal for both parties. Give Sargeant another year in F2 and help Ricciardo stay on teams radars. If he can beat Albon and put in some strong drives in an underperforming car, it can only be good for his reputation.

  6. Kvyat?

    1. I miss him! Great personality and I think he had potential. Shame we lost him. Too much pressure too soon, like many of the RB juniors.

    2. Wouldn’t be the strangest move in the world. I’m not sure where his money comes from or whether F1 teams want to be associated with him, but I don’t see much of a difference between him and Albon. Does he still qualify for a Super license? I could see him doing a good a good job.

      1. @bernasaurus He has SL because an SL remains valid for three full years after a driver’s most recent F1 race outing, so in Kvyat’s case, until next year’s end.

    3. @Sergey Martyn Not in any case.

  7. “a good – a good job”. Good job I don’t write stuff for a living.

  8. No one has mentioned Nico Hulkenburg. I am not saying he would be the best option but he must be an option, surely. Plenty of F1 experience and likely to be as good, if not better than Albon.

    1. “likely to be as good, if not better than Albon.”

      Are you feeling okay buddy?

    2. @phil-f1-21 He’s semi-retired, considering how long he’s been away from active racing.

  9. He’s 35! Ricciardo is 33. Nico was definitely mentioned as an option for a drive at Alpine only a few weeks ago on this very site. So it’s not that mad an idea!

    I meant he might be an option. Not that I agreed.

  10. Roll the dice. 1. Ricciardo 2. Sargeant 3. Schumacher 4. Giovinazzi 5. Doohan 6. Aitken
    or Pourchaire or Drugovich… list goes on and on

  11. Daniel should be at the top of the list. Williams absolutely need an experienced and eager driver. You’re only worth what someone is prepared to pay you, so, yes, he’d have to take a pay cut to drive at Williams. Nevertheless, this would be an opportunity for him to prove he’s still one of the best drivers on the grid. Contracts can easily have options and bonuses, which can benefit both parties. Daniel’s two best results so far this year are a 5th and a 6th, which I think would please Williams.
    If we consider Filipe Massa, who I don’t really think Williams have ever given him much credit for what he’d done for them, scored points in 13 races in his last season for them (2017). After he left they scored points at less races over the next 4 seasons (10 races).
    So Williams absolutely need to get the best driver they can afford. Daniel needs to get the best seat he can, and this is looking like it is the best seat he can get.

  12. Ricciardo will definitely be a better choice over a new talent. Those F2 guys are just not ready yet, and not even sure if this is a strong field.

    I have a feeling Ricciardo will do just fine with the Williams. It still is a low downforce, low drag car and it seems Daniel was at his strongest in 2014-16 the low downforce era.

  13. Stoffel.

Comments are closed.