RACE DEBRIEF

    Alex Albon is back in blue and back in Formula 1 as he gears up for a return to the sport with Williams – who revealed a stunning livery for their FW44 on Tuesday. The British-born Thai driver's enthusiasm was clear as he spoke about the season ahead.

    Albon, 25, spent 2021 on the sidelines as Red Bull’s reserve driver, supporting Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen as their team clinched their first drivers’ title since 2013. With George Russell now sporting Mercedes colours, Albon was snapped up by Williams to race alongside Nicholas Latifi this season.

    READ MORE: Can Williams make another step forward in 2022?

    “It feels really good,” he said as Williams launched their 2022 livery. “It feels, you know, I spent a while away from the race seat, and to get back into it, get back into the thing that I’ve wanted to do my whole life feels amazing.

    “The team’s been super nice. They clearly know what they’re doing and on my side, it was going to a team where, yes, you can tell there’s trust there straight away – they believe in me – and on my side I’m trying to bring as much knowledge, as much experience as I can to them,” he added.

    Williams-Racing-FW44---Image-6.jpg
    Williams unveiled a bold new look ahead of their Silverstone shakedown

    Williams shook down their FW44 at a damp Silverstone on Tuesday after the livery launch, giving us a chance to see the real car hit the track. Both Albon and his team mate Latifi shared driving duties – but, as Latifi readies for a third season, Albon admitted he’s still got some “rust” to shake off.

    ANALYSIS: Williams forge their own path with FW44 design

    “It’s different… but there is a feeling that there’s going to be a bit of rust to get rid of. I think on that reset of new car, new regulation, that goes in my favour; it’s a reset for everyone. My plan is to hit the ground running as hard as I can.

    “Of course there will be that little bit to go but the team have helped me with that and we’re working together, trying to make sure we can attack straight away. And I know I will just get better through the season as will the car – and we’re kind of going together on that.”

    Formula One World Championship
    Albon partnered Nicholas Latifi at DAMS for the 2018 F2 campaign

    READ MORE: British teen racer Zak O'Sullivan joins Williams Driver Academy

    As for his hopes for Williams, Albon held a pragmatic view of where he would like to see the storied outfit finish in 2022.

    “Well, I think to begin with it’s really about where we started; it’s just our starting point. I feel like if we’re in the midfield, if we’re in the upper midfield, that’s great. If we’re towards the back half, that’s fine.

    “It’s all about how quickly can we adapt and overcome? How quickly can we progress through the year? Because some teams are going to get it right, some teams are going to get it wrong,” he concluded.