Alex Albons says Williams is falling behind its midfield rivals in F1’s development race due to its competitors “upgrading so aggressively”.

Williams’ 2024 season has been a challenging affair from the outset, with the team struggling over the winter with design and production delays that led to the Grove-based squad fielding an overweight FW46 in the opening races.

Albon’s top-ten qualifying performance in Monaco and his subsequent run to P9 in the race – Williams’ only point finish so far – hinted at progress.

Another relatively strong display in Canada was unfortunately ruined by Sainz’s inadvertent collision with Albon in the race.

But since Montreal, Williams’ performance level has waned, leaving Albon with low expectations for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

“I would say Barcelona was slightly disappointing, but in some ways expected,” commented Albon.

“I think Red Bull Ring was more disappointing and further away than we expected. And so Silverstone comes in and we’re a little bit… We would normally come into this weekend a bit more positive.

“But I think there’s just a bit of a question mark on purely where we are going to be this weekend.

“I think obviously when you look at last year, it was a very strong weekend for us and it’s still in the process of understanding what tracks are going well for us now.

“That’s not always that clear for us. But it’s partly down to the midfield upgrading so aggressively.

“The upgrades for most teams now are consistent and often, so I’m working well, so yeah, we’re just falling behind.”

Logan Sargeant echoed his teammate’s views and agreed that projecting how Williams will fare this weekend is challenging.

“It’s closer on paper to a track like Barcelona than say, Canada,” said the American. “It’s a tricky one because we look at last year and it obviously went quite well for us.

“How do we think it’s going to go this year? It’s a bit of a guess. I think if you look at the last two races, it does feel a little bit like we’re falling behind.

“From a pace point of view as a team, we are struggling a bit. But that doesn’t mean this weekend can’t be better.

“I’m confident that we’re going to get everything out of the car. Whether that’s better or not is to be determined. But I certainly hope so.

“It is where we’re at,” he added. “We’re obviously trying to find more pace as hard as we can. As simple as it is, we’re just not quick enough for the moment.

“I’m sure we’re going to have a two-hour-long driver briefing. I’ll probably be sleeping in the back by the end! No, I’m sure it’ll be discussed tomorrow night.”

Albon and Sargeant concluded their opening day of running on Friday 13th and 17th respectively. Williams sporting director Sven Smeets noted that set-up changes between the day’s two sessions had yielded positive results.

“Alex changed the set-up of the car quite significantly between FP1 and FP2 and this had a positive effect on the performance of the car, especially on the long runs,” the Belgian said.

“They seemed competitive this afternoon, but we still have some issues with the balance of the car on low fuel, so we need to improve that overnight ahead of FP3.

“We will be working hard tonight to find some extra performance for tomorrow. The weather forecast is changing nearly every hour so there is everything to play for in qualifying.”

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