Alex Albon said Formula One drivers are “concerned” about the FIA’s move to ban political statements.
F1’s governing body has updated its rules to prevent “political, religious or personal” comments being made without prior approval.
The FIA’s controversial clampdown comes after drivers – including seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and the recently-retired Sebastian Vettel – have spoken out on issues such as racism, diversity and the environment in recent seasons.
In 2020, F1 launched the We Race as One campaign to combat inequality and increase sustainability.
But speaking at Williams’ season launch, where the FW45 was unveiled, London-born Thai Albon said: “We are all concerned. We know politics and stances are sensitive areas but we need clarity from the FIA on what they are trying to tell us.
Albon, 26, is gearing up for his fourth season in F1 and second with Williams.
Williams will have a new team principal for the upcoming season, which starts in Bahrain on March 5, following James Vowles’ transfer from Mercedes to replace Jost Capito.
Vowles was a key fixture in the Silver Arrows’ remarkable run of success – propelling Hamilton to six of his seven world titles – and Albon hopes some of that Mercedes magic will rub off at Williams.
“Everyone I know speaks very highly of James, Jost included,” added Albon, who will team up with rookie American Logan Sargeant this season.
“I am sure he can bring a lot to the table. We have caught up on the phone, and had dinner, and it is nice to see what he thinks, and to have that different point of view coming from a team that has had so much success.”
Read below for more information on the 2023 season
When are the F1 car launch dates?
Red Bull, RB19: February 3, 2pm (UK time) New York
Williams: February 6, onlineAlfa Romeo: February 7
AlphaTauri AT04: February 11, New York
Aston Martin AMR23: February 13, Silverstone
Ferrari: February 14
Mercedes W14: February 15, Silverstone
Alpine A523: February 16, London
Haas: Livery launch took place on January 31
What do the 2023 cars look like?
Red Bull, RB19
Alfa Romeo C43
When does pre-season testing take place?
Unlike last year, there is only one pre-season test before the 2023 season. That runs from Thursday, February 23 until Saturday, February 25 at the Bahrain International Circuit, just outside of Sakhir.
Will the test be on TV?
We are yet to have any confirmation that this is the case. After a few years of testing being broadcast on F1TV and Sky Sports, last year’s first test in Spain (which was not officially a test in name but a pre-season “shakedown”) was not broadcast, but the second test in Bahrain was.
Given there is just one test, a week before the race it seems likely that the test will be televised in some form, but that is not guaranteed.
When is the first race of 2023?
The first grand prix of the 2023 season is also at the Bahrain International Circuit, running from Friday 3 until Sunday 5 March.
Where and when will the six sprint races be this year?
Formula One has announced the six sprint venues for 2023 with Azerbaijan, Belgium, the Austin race in the United States and Qatar all joining Austria and Brazil in staging qualifying on Friday and a shortened ‘sprint’ race on Saturday.
Three sprint races were held in 2022 – at Imola, Austria and Brazil – with much discussion in the early part of the season about expanding that offering for next year.
The teams and F1 were keen to double the number, arguing that sprint races have been successful in engaging fans and increasing audience sizes. But the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body, initially resisted, claiming that it would cost them more and asking for compensation.
Like last year, too, points will be given to the top eight drivers in the sprint race. Again, the sprint races will be approximately 100km – or roughly a third of a grand prix distance – and will run on Saturday, with the traditional three-part qualifying setting the grid for the sprint and taking place on the Friday.
The driver who tops qualifying on Friday, when these sprint races take place, will be awarded the official pole position, not the winner of the sprint, as was the case in 2021.
What are the driver line-ups?
Red Bull: Max Verstappen (1) and Sergio Pérez (11)
Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton (44) and George Russell (63)
Ferrari: Carlos Sainz (55) and Charles Leclerc (55)
Alpine: Esteban Ocon (31) and Pierre Gasly (10)
McLaren: Lando Norris (4) and Oscar Piastri (81)
Alfa Romeo: Valtteri Bottas (77) and Guanyu Zhou (24)
Aston Martin: Lance Stroll (18) and Fernando Alonso (14)
Haas: Kevin Magnussen (20) and Nico Hulkenberg (27)
AlphaTauri: Yuki Tsunoda (22) and Nyck de Vries (TBA)
Williams: Alexander Albon (23) and Logan Sargeant (2)
What is the full calendar?
5: Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir
19: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah
2: Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne
30: Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku +
5-7: Miami Grand Prix, Miami
19-21: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola
26-28: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo
June 2-4: Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona
June 16-18: Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal
2: Austrian Grand Prix, Spielberg +
9: British Grand Prix, Silverstone
23: Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest
30: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps +
27: Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
September 1-3: Italian Grand Prix, Monza
September 15-17: Singapore Grand Prix, Singapore
September 22-24: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
October 6-8: Qatar Grand Prix, Lusail +
October 20-22: United States Grand Prix, Austin +
October 27-29: Mexico City Grand Prix, Mexico City
November 3-5: Sao Paulo Grand Prix, Sao Paulo +
November 16-18: Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas
November 24-26: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
+ Denotes sprint event weekend
How to watch the season
As has been the case for some time now, in the United Kingdom, Sky Sports F1 have near exclusive coverage rights for the season. They will be showing all practice sessions, qualifying sessions, sprint qualifying and races throughout the season.
Channel 4 will have their extended qualifying and race highlights again, with the British Grand Prix in July broadcast live.
If you are outside of the UK you may also be able to subscribe to F1’s own F1TV for a monthly fee throughout the season.