Miami Grand Prix 2024: Alex Albon to start F1 Sprint from pit lane

MIAMI — A tough Friday afternoon has given way to an even tougher Saturday morning for Williams at the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix.

Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant struggled in qualifying for the F1 Sprint race, with Albon finishing in P20, just behind Sargeant in P18. A three-place grid penalty handed down to Valtteri Bottas for impeding Oscar Piastri offered some relief, bumping both drivers up a spot, but now that relief has faded for Albon.

According to the FIA, Williams made changes to the suspension of Albon’s FW46 following Sprint Qualifying. As a result, the driver will be starting Saturday’s F1 Sprint race from pit lane.

“During the post Sprint Qualifying Parc Fermé yesterday and today, the Williams Racing team has made changes to the set up of the suspension of car number 23. Therefore this car should now be required to start from the pit lane according to Article 40.9 b) of the 2024 Formula One Sporting Regulations,” read the report from FIA Formula One Technical Delegate Jo Bauer.

The team shared the news on social media Saturday morning, noting “discrepancies with the set-up and balance” that required the adjustment:

Following Friday’s session, the team expressed some frustration at the qualifying performance. “Evidently, we’re quite disappointed with the result in Sprint Qualifying. We made a number of set-up changes between FP1 and SQ but unfortunately, they didn’t pay off,” said Sporting Director Sven Smeets in the team’s media report. “We will use the Sprint race in the morning to gather valuable information so that we can improve the whole package for Qualifying and the Race on Sunday.”

“We tend to struggle a little in Sprint Qualifying sessions when using the harder compounds; we also changed quite a bit between FP1 and Qualifying and unfortunately, the gamble didn’t pay off,” described Albon. “The things we changed were in the right direction, including a few aero pieces but they weren’t quite what we expected and ultimately, we over-compromised. We’ll wait until the Sprint race, then change the car setup and hopefully that will improve things.”

Apparently those changes could not wait.