“I have a great relationship with Toto” – The Volkswagen connection has helped Williams seal the deal for Alex Albon to replace George Russell next season.
In a fascinating conversation with Formula 1’s Lawrence Barretto, Williams team principal Jost Capito has revealed how his past working relationship with Mercedes and Red Bull helped get the Alex Albon move over the line.
“Of course it’s always challenging first to define which driver you really want – and then get it over the line.
“I have a great relationship with Toto. We have known each other for a long time. When he started at Mercedes, I was at Volkswagen Motorsport and together we have been in F3 supplying engines, so we had to find ways to handle F3 as two engine manufacturers and to build up great relationship.
“Red Bull has been main partner at Volkswagen in the World Rally Championship when I was there so I have great links to Red Bull. These good relationships from the past and on-going good relationships help to bring all the parties together and they support our choice of Alex.”
I can’t tell you how good it feels to say.. I’m joining @WilliamsRacing for 2022!! The most sincere thank you to Jost and everyone at Williams for trusting me with this opportunity and of course @redbullracing especially Christian and Dr. Marko for making this possible. pic.twitter.com/c0NhSQLd0L
— Alex Albon (@alex_albon) September 8, 2021
Why did Williams choose Alex Albon?
Williams is an iconic team in the sport and naturally attracted many suitors for the seat to be vacated by George Russell. The most prominent names apart from Albon included the Mercedes duo of reigning Formula E champion Nyck de Vries and the man Russell is replacing, Valtteri Bottas.
But Williams ultimately chose Albon, the current Red Bull test and reserve driver. Here’s Capito on what made Williams go for him, with Bottas moving to Alfa Romeo, instead.
“We want to move forward, we don’t want to move backwards. With that in mind, a driver who is still at the beginning of his career and has quite a lot of experience already was appealing.
“Alex has been in one of the top teams, has driven a race winning car, has experience of being successful and being on the podium – and is eager to do that again.
“He will also fit well in the team and already has with the relationship with Nicky, as they were team-mates in F2. All this together was important for us. If take these attributes and put them through a checklist, Alex is the guy who is the one that fits the most.
“I’m not saying there weren’t other great drivers we could have worked with. Nyck de Vries deserves a chance in F1, he’s a great driver – he deserves a space and I hope he can get one. Valtteri also a very good fit for Alfa. But for us, Alex was the right choice.”