Mercedes might be a step ahead of rivals with 2026-spec engine, says Albon

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Williams driver Alexander Albon pins hopes on the technical revamp that will involve the introduction of a heavily-revised power unit concept in 2026, hoping that Mercedes can master the new era similarly to 2014.

Ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Williams announced that Alexander Albon signed a multi-year contract extension with the Grove-based outfit, which will keep him at the team into Formula 1’s new regulation era when it kicks off in 2026.

The Thai driver joined Williams in 2022 when the sport introduced a heavily-revised ground-effect car concept. Although the first year did not pan out in a way that Albon and Williams hoped for, but they managed to up their game for 2023 which saw the London-born driver secure seven point-scoring finishes, including two seven-placed result in Monza and Montreal.

Expanding on the reason for his contract extension with Williams, Albon said that he is sure that the team's engine partner Mercedes can come up with another competitive power unit when the sport introduces the new concept in 2026.

“For sure it is, I think Mercedes time and time again, when it comes to these regulation changes, they seem to be one step ahead of their rivals – not to say I don’t think other teams will do a good job.

“But I think it’s at least a safe bet. When you look at maybe the other midfield teams who are bringing in a new PU I’m sure they’re going to put in a lot of money to hit the ground running.

“At the same time, I think I’m hoping that even in 2026 if we’re still in our building phase – obviously, I want to hit that year on top form, but if it’s not there quite yet we’ll still have a very strong power unit to go alongside us.”

The Thai driver believes in the team structure and atmosphere Williams team boss James Vowles has created since his arrival in February 2023. Albon stressed that Williams has now more long-term vision, rather than chasing short-terms goals.

“I think when James joined there were more short-term things, but now realistically it’s going to be longer-term, that’s also reflected in my contract.

“I know that this year is not going to be easy for us, I know next year is going to be a step better but it’s not going to be the silver bullet and then when the regulation changes, that’s really when you get the fruits of your hard work, Albon is quoted as saying by