According to Alex Albon, Formula 1 drivers are “all worried” about what appears to be a restriction on their capacity to express their opinions on social and political topics.
The Williams driver finds it “confusing” because the FIA decided to forbid “personal, religious, and political comments” without written permission.
We require clarification from the FIA regarding what they are attempting to convey, he said.
“As drivers, it is difficult to understand what they are trying to express. We must have some degree of freedom of speech.
Schedule of preseason testing for the 2023 season and Horner’s stance on the use of sport as a political tool
The regulatory body the FIA appeared to be “trying to get away from” the pro-diversity ‘We Race As One’ campaign F1 as a sport had championed since 2020, according to Albon, speaking at Williams’ 2023 season launch event where a new livery and title sponsor were introduced.
The British-born Thai remarked, “Politics and stances — it is a really sensitive topic.” “We strongly supported We Race As One. We need clarity, and I have no doubt that we will achieve it.
Many people look to us as spokesmen for issues throughout the world because of who we are, the media, and the contact we have with our fans and viewers, and I do believe it is the duty of drivers to raise awareness of these situations.
Albon reported that the drivers had conversed on free speech, but “not too much.”
He made mention of the worries that the FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s actions on a number of matters over the past year have raised among the F1 community.
Albon stated, “We are all concerned. “I am aware that the FIA and F1 are attempting to coordinate all communications in one format. There is some misunderstanding at the moment.
A season’s expectations
The petroleum firm Gulf, which has an iconic standing in motorsport due to its success with Ford and Porsche at Le Mans in the 1960s and 1970s, has agreed to sponsor Williams in a new title sponsorship arrangement, which was unveiled on a show car at their facility in Oxfordshire on Monday.
On February 13 at Silverstone, the new Williams F1 car will make its debut.
Albon stated that Williams’ goal for this season was to score points more frequently after the squad placed last in 2022.
James Vowles, who was previously the motorsport strategy director at eight-time constructors’ champions Mercedes, joined the squad as team principal last month.
Vowles doesn’t begin working for Williams until February 20, although Albon claimed to have discussed his goals with him.
Albon stated, “I’m sure he can bring a lot to the table. “We had a supper or so and caught up on the phone. It’s interesting to see his perspectives and the potential of the team, Albon stated.
“With his Mercedes experience, perhaps that can advance things and accelerate the car’s evolution.
“Having a different perspective from a team that has achieved so much success is good. James has a lot of expertise in all facets of the business, which hopefully will be put to good use. This much is clear.
“What he brings is a wealth of expertise from Mercedes and its incarnations before that,” said Dave Robson, head of vehicle performance. He is aware of what it takes to reach and maintain the top. He is incredibly intelligent and ambitious.
In 2020, the investing firm Dorilton Capital acquired Williams. After years of financial hardship, it has increased investment, and the team has started a reconstruction process that will take time.
Before Dorilton came over, “investment had been a concern” at Williams, according to Robson, and the club was seeking for “stability” with Vowles’ appointment.
We have a sense of security and are prepared to go on to the next stage of development, according to Robson. A much longer-term plan will also be helpful.
How will the performance be?
Albon said Williams had concentrated on resolving its primary shortcomings, particularly wheel-locking into low-speed corners, for the start of the 2023 season. Williams are keeping their expectations in check for the beginning of the season.
We don’t believe we’ll take off right away, Albon added. We need to be smarter, though.
“We got off to a slow start last year, but we started collecting points at the halfway point. We had (high-speed courses like) Spa and Monza that were our strong suits. If we were still powerful there, I would be shocked.
“Scoring points is the objective. Hopefully podiums, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“If we can consistently compete for Q2 (the second round of knockout qualifying) and go to that portion of the grid, the more opportunities we have to compete for points, the further we will advance there.”
American Logan Sargeant, who is joining the club this year, is Albon’s newest teammate.
At the age of 12, the 22-year-old and his family relocated to Europe so that he may follow his goal. It was challenging at times, but clearly worthwhile in the end, said Sargeant.
Sargeant will only have a day and a half of driving practice before the first race at the same track on March 3-5 because Bahrain’s testing is only allowed to last three days at the end of the month.
We will see what happens when we arrive in Bahrain, he said, adding that he had done his best to prepare.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m starting off slowly. Making the most of the limited track time becomes imperative with only a day and a half remaining. But that is how things are.
The high-profile inaugural race in Las Vegas in November will be added to those in Austin, Texas, and Miami, which made its debut last year. Sargeant is the first American to compete in Formula One since Scott Speed in 2006, and he will have three home races.
Being introduced to the sport during a year with three US Grands Prix is both a unique chance and a luxury, according to Sargeant.
“The US F1 market is at its pinnacle. The amount of growth there is evident. Now, everyone there is familiar with Formula One.