Formula 1: Why Williams find themselves in even deeper trouble

Only four races into the 2024 Formula 1 season, Williams appear to be in serious trouble already, and it could greatly hurt them later on.
Alexander Albon, Formula 1
Alexander Albon, Formula 1 / Qian Jun/MB Media/GettyImages

Williams have been underperforming to open up the 2024 Formula 1 season, and that may continue after what they have shown over the last few races. Crashes from Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant have caused some serious damage to the car’s chassis and parts that were fitted on for upgrades.

Things got serious for Williams when Albon crashed during a practice session for the Australia Grand Prix a few weeks ago. His chassis was so damaged the team were unable to fix it with what they had in the garage. Williams made the very difficult decision and had Albon drive in Sargeant’s car, meaning the American had to sit out of the race.

Though Williams were able to fix Albon’s chassis in time for the Japanese Grand Prix this past weekend, the car with the repaired chassis was given to Sargeant for the weekend. Both drivers were involved in wrecks during the weekend, with Albon's knocking him out of the race on the opening lap.

The situation for Williams has been a difficult one, as they are playing the team game to maximize points.

What could happen later on?

Williams not having the availability for the parts they need will prove to be a challenge going forward. As of right now, they are in a race against time to repair the chassis Albon used in Japan. The damage was reported to be serious after the 28-year-old’s crash with Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap.

Team principal James Vowles seems a bit worried after all of these major accidents.

“We’re making spares as quickly as possible in the background but, ultimately, performance will have an impact on it, we can’t bring as many updates," he said. "The updates that were on the car unfortunately are broken, so we’ve got to build those stocks back up and get going again.”

There is no guarantee this chassis will be repaired in time for the Chinese Grand Prix in less than two weeks. In addition, Williams have had to shift their focus to repairs rather than upgrades. Vowles had also stated that the team’s current supply of parts is nearly wiped out. 

Additionally, Williams were expected to get an extra chassis for the season by the Miami Grand Prix in early May. That could be delayed due to the existing chassis repairs that must be done first. Another hardship Williams have been facing is the use of their budget for repairs and parts rather than upgrades.

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With Williams looking to battle for P6 in the constructor standings this season, they are going to need better reliability if they want to compete with RB and Haas. This will be an interesting situation to monitor as the season goes on.