The Grove squad struggled with the ground-effects rules revolution in 2022 as it lacked downforce and suffered with poor low-speed balance.
That left the team to prop up the constructors’ championship with just eight points, compared to 35 for next-worst AlphaTauri in ninth.
But the new FW45 has proved more stable and allowed Albon to bank a point in 10th in the season-opener in Bahrain as rookie team-mate Logan Sargeant impressed with 12th.
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That step forward, with Sargeant also logging the seventh-fastest race pace, has left Albon to heap praise on Williams for making gains over the winter second only to Aston Martin, which bagged a podium courtesy of Fernando Alonso in third.
The Anglo-Thai driver said: “We were running low downforce, which was even trickier.
“So, to have the pace we had under the circumstances, I have to say I’m super proud.
“Everyone I’m sure is looking at the Aston Martin on the podium and thinking what a step they’ve done. But we’re second.
“Where you look at us from last year to this year in this position, 12 months ago, I have to say, we’ve done an amazing job.
“Of course, we were reliable, which helps. But we got points on our first race.”
Alex Albon, Williams Racing
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
New team principal James Vowles has already said Williams is open to sacrificing the development of the 2023 car in order to bring longer-term success.
But Albon still reckoned the FW45 could score points more regularly than its predecessor, which did so on five occasions, saying: “I believe so.
“I wouldn’t have said so coming into [Bahrain] but after, who knows anymore.
“We qualified out of position. We should have qualified higher up, in my opinion.
“It would have made our race a lot easier. But that’s progress.
“I don’t want to be overly optimistic, but saying that as well, the flipside, I know we’ve got some stuff for the next couple of races that can really push us forwards.”
Ex-Red Bull F1 driver Albon also reckoned the team already knew which areas to target to find immediate lap time gains if it sticks to developing the FW45.
He said: “We need to assess our weaknesses, that’s the main thing.
“We know in terms of downforce level where there are advantages.
“We have kind of a different character to most people — We are slippery on the straights and less quick on the corners.
“But we’re making it work and I think we’ve got to do what’s good for our car right now.
“We still need to dial out some characteristic problems — that’s going to take possibly a little bit longer.
“But for now, the short term, we know where we can improve. There’s lap time there. We’re quick and stable.”