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Hamilton's Ferrari move sparks 'all or nothing' ultimatum for Albon and Williams

Hamilton's Ferrari move sparks 'all or nothing' ultimatum for Albon and Williams

Hamilton's Ferrari move sparks 'all or nothing' ultimatum for Albon and Williams

Hamilton's Ferrari move sparks 'all or nothing' ultimatum for Albon and Williams

The future of one of the 2025 driver market's key players remains uncertain as Alex Albon's contract end date appears somewhat flexible.

With speculation about interest from Mercedes and Red Bull Racing in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's shock switch to Ferrari, the Anglo-Thai racer is one of the sport's hottest properties.

Albon and Williams Team Principal James Vowles spoke to GPFans, among other select media, at the team's New York City season launch and had differing opinions about how steadfast a 2025 collaboration is.

Alex Albon's 2025 Contract

"Alex is signed in Williams until the end of 2025," Vowles explicitly stated.

"That's signed. It's not something I've been very public about because I don't feel the need to.

READ MORE: F1 Schedule 2024: Full calendar with all you need to know about every grand prix

"So any reports that you're seeing, and there's one particular... that individual is speculating at best speculating."

Williams F1 team principal James Vowles

Albon was a little more coy about being so commital for the long term when asked about his 2025 plans with the rumours surrounding him.

"I would be denying it if I said that there have been no questions and general chats around that topic," he admitted.

While Vowles confirmed his star driver is contracted to the team for two more seasons, Albon is aware of the upcoming landscape with the 2026 regulation change:

"It's very clear to me, especially when you see the driver market, there's a huge interest in teams wanting the same driver for 2025 and 2026.

"That's how it looks like it's playing out, and let's see about that."

Perhaps the most telling comment about the Albon-Williams contract's lack of rigidity came from Vowles' answer to whether he'd prevent Albon from joining a bigger team:

"Would I stand in his way? I have the responsibility of Williams on my shoulders.

"That's the most important thing to me. It's not the responsibility towards one individual, in this case, Alex, it's the responsibility towards the team.

"So should any decision go that way, it's because I'm very clear in my mind that I've made decisions that are correct for the team's long-term goals, not short-term."

Albon is no different to a champion

Alex Albon enjoyed a superb 2023 season for Williams

Even with a 2025 contract in place, Vowles is aware that the current perception is Albon is bringing more to Williams than the other way around – something he's keen to address.

"It is our job in Williams to create an environment that deserves someone of the calibre of Alex, simple as that. I've said that from the beginning, and I still maintain that.

"He is an incredible driver that deserves his place towards the front. He did drives last year that are... no different to some of the other champions I've worked with.

"He kept half the field behind at one race, and we put him in difficult positions, and he overcame that to score points for us."

Albon, too, is mindful of his current high stock value and that, at 27, he can't wait forever to fight at the front.

"I feel like I'm at or very close to my peak," says Albon.

"There are always improvements to be done and areas to improve, but generally, with my experience now and where I am, I feel like I'm deserving of a car that can score podiums and fight for wins.

"That's just being totally honest with how I see myself.

"More than anything, I want that team to be Williams, and that's where I put all my work and all my efforts into."

Albon and Williams: All or nothing

Alex Albon is fully focused on the 2024 season with Williams

A Formula 1 contract is never as black and white as it appears, as Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, and Oscar Piastri have all demonstrated in recent years.

It seems Albon will assess how much flexibility there is on his 2025 agreement as the 2024 season progresses.

"My focus is on 2024," he confirms. "The real focus is on making sure that we make progress for 2025.

"If the team is where I want them to be, it will be a long-term contract. We're going to go all the way or nothing."

The team's 2024 challenger, the FW46, looks key to Albon's Grove longevity.

"I'm very excited to see how the FW46 develops. I want to see how the car feels in Bahrain and the subsequent four, five, six races, and really get a feel for the progression that I hope we've made as a team.

"My whole focus is on Williams, and that's where I see myself. I'm seeing about the long-term future, and the rate of progression to me is also very important.

"Of course, things are moving around quite a lot. There's a lot of rumours going around, but that's that. That's where I'm at."

READ MORE: British Grand Prix fate sealed in MASSIVE F1 announcement

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