Williams faced a spate of production delays over the past winter, which led to it gambling on prioritizing other items over producing a spare car in time for the start of the season.

That decision came back to haunt the squad in Australia, with Albon damaging his chassis in a practical crash. Albon was then handed team-mate Logan Sargeant‘s car, with the American having to sit out the rest of the race weekend as Williams was forced to withdraw his entry.

In his post-race debrief, Vowles detailed the process of having Albon’s damaged chassis repaired in time to be shipped out to Suzuka, which will host the fourth round of the season next week.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to fix the chassis,” he explained. “We put measures in place to make sure the chassis was back here [in the Grove factory] very early on Monday morning, I think it arrived around 2am. There were already crews inside the building, working on it, stripping it down and doing repairs.

“We’re in a good place for having the chassis back early enough for Suzuka. Actually back in Melbourne, there were photographs and techniques called NDT, which is non-destructive testing. It allows us to fully understand how big the damage is, and what we have to do.

“And that preparation was key. What it meant was already at 2am on Monday, work could start. So, in Suzuka we’ll have two cars without too many issues.”

James Vowles, Team Principal, Williams Racing

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Williams remains vulnerable to a repeat of its Melbourne disaster as a third chassis is still a work in progress.

Vowles admitted Williams having to divert resources into repairing Albon’s chassis might push back the introduction of chassis number three even further, possibly beyond China.

“The original plan for the season started was to have three chassis as you would expect at round one,” he explained.

“That gently slipped toward round three as items became more and more delayed and since then, especially with the work that we’re doing now on chassis number two, there is again going to be a small amount of delay.

“It is thousands of hours spent on composites in order to get it ready. It’s one of the biggest jobs within an F1 team.”

“We will have a chassis soon. In the meantime, we have to deal with the circumstances we have in front of us.”

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