Williams are beaten below par in Singapore on Friday – Alexander Albon is stopped by a problem, Logan Sargeant can’t get his lap right
“We think the problem is related to the battery,” Williams Formula One driver Alexander Albon said of the defect that slowed him down in the second practice session for the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix. Albon was only able to complete five laps there.
The former Red Bull driver reported, “I started my lap and it felt okay. But as the straight went on, I lost the deployment [of the ERS]. I think we already know the problem, so it shouldn’t take that long to fix it.”
Nevertheless, the defect was annoying because on tracks like Singapore, kilometres are especially important to build up the necessary self-confidence. Without a representative lap time, Albon finished the second practice in 20th and last place.
“A difficult day for us, especially on Alex’s side,” Dave Robson, head of vehicle performance, also stresses, revealing that Albon did some testing in the first practice session and they actually wanted to use FT2 for race preparation.
“Unfortunately, a problem with the ERS on the power unit meant we had to end his FT2 after just a few laps on the hard tyre,” says Robson. Albon therefore explains that after virtually missing FT2, they now had to “do a bit of guesswork” when it came to set-up.
“But it should be OK for FT3,” he hopes, stressing, “Apart from the problem, the car didn’t feel that bad.” Robson reveals that they will now put in “a different module” after the defect and want to make up the lost time as best they can in FT3.
Why Logan Sargeant only finished second to last
FT1, by the way, Albon had finished in P13 before, but team-mate Logan Sargeant had finished last there. The rookie is driving in Singapore for the first time and also only finished 19th in the second practice session, second to last ahead of Albon.
“Logan had a more successful day and was able to complete his plan without any problems,” Robson nevertheless emphasises and explains that the US-American mainly gained “experience” with a lot and little fuel, which is important for a rookie.
“FT2 was much better than FT1, so that was a good step forward,” Sargeant himself confirms. Explaining his poor finish, he says: “I did a half-decent lap on the soft tyre, but made a mistake in the last corner which cost us the lap time. “
Despite this, he doesn’t rate the day negatively because he learned a lot. “As a team, we knew it was going to be a tough weekend where we would feel the limitations [of the car] that we haven’t really experienced in the last few races,” he explains.
“We’ll just have to try and find a way around them as best we can,” says Sargeant, with Robson adding, “We’ve got a lot of work to do to improve the car, but we know what we’re looking for and we’ll certainly be able to make progress.”
After all, on paper at least, after P19 and P20 on Friday, that’s as far as we can go …