Williams ’very worried’ about chassis, spare parts crisis

"We don’t have the whole organisation just working on the chassis"


8 April 2024 - 09:49
Williams 'very worried' (...)

Alex Albon admits he is "very worried" about whether Williams can pick up the pieces ahead of Formula 1’s next stop in China.

The team’s 2024 so far has been characterised by a devastating combination of delays, chassis and spare parts shortages - and a series of heavy crashes.

There were two more big crashes at Suzuka - one for Logan Sargeant in Alex Albon’s patched-up Melbourne chassis, and Sunday’s big hit against the barrier for Albon following contact with Daniel Ricciardo.

"Before I hit the barrier I was thinking about the chassis," Albon said. "It’s exactly what we didn’t need. So yeah, I was very worried, not for myself but for the car."

Indeed, Williams needs to get through another race - Shanghai in a fortnight - before a third chassis is ready. "A long way away," admits team boss James Vowles.

But that’s not the only problem, as Williams is also now getting dangerously low on critical spare parts - like front and rear wings.

"Clearly we don’t have the whole organisation just working on the chassis," Vowles said. "We’re working at the same time on spares and updates and trying to get the throughput."

He admits that Williams’ team structure is in "overload", having dispensed with a lot of old methods over the winter and designing a much more complex car - with more individual parts.

"In terms of the complexity of it, it’s enormous," said Vowles. "I mean, the chassis is thousands and thousands of pieces you’re trying to bring together at the same time."

The good news is that the Albon chassis appears to have survived Sunday’s big whack against the barrier and Ricciardo’s RB. But the lack of spare parts is arguably now an even bigger problem.

"I think for any team, this amount of big accidents would be a problem," said Vowles.

It is believed the combined crash damage so far is at least $2 million, but Albon at least has the factor of being clearly the team’s faster and preferred driver.

As for Logan Sargeant, he needs to up his game, according to former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher.

"He just makes too many mistakes," he told Sky Deutschland on Sunday.

"It just keeps coming back to the same thing - he’s simply overwhelmed and it’s time for him to realise it and probably do something different."

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