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Alex Albon has been on a roll in 2024, it’s just the kind he wouldn’t have hoped for at the start of the season. The collision between Albon and Daniel Ricciardo in the opening lap of the Japanese Grand Prix was the third major crash for the Williams team in the last two races and unfortunately, the Thai-British has been responsible for two of those crashes. With the team already running short of spare chassis, the damage to Albon’s car at Suzuka could prove costly for the entirety of the 2024 season as recently pointed out by the team principal James Vowles.

Williams has been under the spotlight for inefficiencies in their car production process since the Australian Grand Prix when Alex Albon crashed out in the free practice session rendering his chassis non-functional. The team had to make the tough decision of sidelining Logan Sargeant in their bid to potentially score a point in Australia, which Albon also failed to deliver. Even Sargeant had a difficult race weekend in Japan as he crashed Albon’s repaired chassis from Australia in FP1 adding to the struggles of the Grove team, which will not be having a spare chassis till the Miami Grand Prix.

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James Vowles, the team principal at WIlliams was recently quoted on the official Formula 1 website talking about the consequences of Albon’s crash for later in the season as per a recent report from FormulaPassion.it. “I believe that for any team having three serious accidents that have practically destroyed all the equipment of the car is an enormity,” said Vowles. He added, “If you consider it over an entire season you can manage it, but having to do it in a few races is difficult. The impact will be what is expected. We are preparing spare parts as quickly as possible, but this will have an impact on performance. We will no longer be able to make so many updates [later in the year].”

READ MORE: Alex Albon’s Red Bull Seat Much More Likely with Thai Investors Coming into Play

The crash was just as difficult for Daniel Ricciardo as it was for Albon as he is already under pressure to perform against his teammate Yuki Tsunoda, who has beaten the Aussie in all the races so far in the season.

Daniel Ricciardo opens up about his crash with Alex Albon

Starting from the 11th position on the grid at Suzuka, Ricciardo struggled to find traction on his medium tires, which ultimately led to his poor start. Alex Albon, who was on softer tires, got ahead of the Honey Badger, putting him in a tricky position. The collision between the two drivers occurred as Ricciardo moved slightly onto the racing line, causing Albon to run out of room and resulting in the crash.

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Helmut Marko, the motorsport advisor for Red Bull has already told Ricciardo multiple times this season to find a way of beating Tsunoda if he wants to get a shot at the second Red Bull seat alongside Max Verstappen in 2025. However, Ricciardo was quick to dismiss any notion that his crash in Japan was a result of increasing pressure from the Red Bull camp. He described the crash as a “singular” incident, emphasizing that it wasn’t a sign of his overall performance or the season’s story.

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“I watched his [Alex Albon’s] onboard and yeah, I mean I don’t even know if he wanted to be there but his traction was so much better on the soft that he was like, well, there’s space until there wasn’t. I didn’t see him,” Ricciardo told the media after the fact. “I think today is a singular moment, I guess in terms of… I don’t look at today and think, ‘Oh man this year, like when it rains, it pours or whatever’. I feel it was just one of those things.”

Will Ricciardo be able to score his first points of the season in China? Or will the run the disappointments continue for the Aussie? What are your thoughts on the matter?

Written by

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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Veerendra Singh is a Motorsport writer at EssentiallySports who specializes in F1 coverage. Having followed the sport for more than 12 years, Veerendra excels in covering trend-setting articles and has covered Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff, and Charles Leclerc extensively during the 2023 F1 season. His Dale Earnhardt Jr post regarding the North Wilkesboro Speedway was shared by Save The Speedway Twitter account.
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Edited by

Harshita