Since final Thursday’s bombshell announcement that Lewis Hamilton is leaving the Silver Arrows on the finish of this season for Ferrari, there was a lot hypothesis over who may companion George Russell at Brackley subsequent season.
Prime of the listing so far has ben Albon, who has continued to impress since returning to the game with Williams in 2022.
Nevertheless, the Anglo-Thai driver has additionally been seen as a substitute for Sergio Perez at Purple Bull ought to the Mexican not up his sport this yr.
Talking on the unveiling of the Grove outfit’s 2024 livery nevertheless, workforce boss James Vowles was eager to clarify that Albon isn’t accessible.
“Alex is signed in Williams till the top of 2025,” he stated. “It isn’t one thing I have been very public about as a result of I do not really feel the necessity to,” he added, “so any stories that you just’re seeing, and there is one specifically, they’re individually speculating, at finest.”
After all, Albon already has expertise of Purple Bull having been promoted from Toro Rosso to switch Pierre Gasly at Purple Bull midway by the 2019 season.
Retained by the Austrian workforce for 2020, although he gave a lot of spectacular performances he was outshone by Max Verstappen and dropped at season finish in favour of Perez, the Thai demoted to the position of take a look at and reserve driver.
For 2022 he was introduced again to the grid by Williams to switch Russell, and over the subsequent two seasons demonstrated not solely why he was thought of worthy of the Purple Bull seat within the first place, however that he’s able to battling for podiums… therefore the continued hypothesis linking him with the massive weapons.
Aside from his apparent expertise, Vowles believes that it’s the environment at Grove which has helped Albon develop.
“It’s our job at Williams to create an surroundings that deserves somebody of the calibre of Alex. Easy as that,” stated Vowles. “I’ve stated that from the start, and I can nonetheless preserve that he’s an unimaginable driver that deserves his place in the direction of the entrance.
“He did drives final yr that I’ve already commented on. They’re no completely different than a few of the different champions I’ve labored with,” he added.
“He and I’ve good chats about the place we wish to transfer ahead, and the place we wish to transfer ahead is we wish to have our journey collectively on this workforce for a very long time. We have now to earn that proper.
“It isn’t a given by any stretch of the creativeness, nor ought to it actually be, for that matter. We have now to display to the world that we’re not the Williams of previous, and we’re not shifting backwards. We’re shifting ahead constantly.”
Nevertheless, final week’s occasions proved but once more that contracts are barely well worth the paper they’re printed on.
“Would I stand in his means? I’ve the duty of Williams on my shoulder,” stated Vowles. “It isn’t the duty in the direction of one particular person, on this case Alex, it is a duty in the direction of the workforce.
“So, ought to any resolution go that means, it is as a result of I am very clear in my thoughts that I’ve made choices which might be appropriate for the workforce’s long-term targets, not quick.”
After all, in a lot the identical means that a lot of groups is perhaps pondering promoting ought to Andretti choose to take that choice, Albon may also be seen as a possible pay day, particularly if the likes of Mercedes or Purple Bull come calling.
In any case, is not Williams owned by an funding firm.