:Alexander Albon was impressed by his first taste of the 2022 Williams Formula One car launched on Tuesday, saying the FW44 challenger felt like a racing car should.
Williams became the sixth team to officially launch their 2022 season, first unveiling their new livery on a show car before giving Albon and teammate Nicholas Latifi a turn behind the wheel of their contender in a shakedown run.
Held at a wet and cold Silverstone on demonstration tyres, the run was far from representative.
Neither driver was close to the limit but Albon was positive in his initial assessment of the car.
"It was wet for us so maybe a little bit harder to compare to from previous years but honestly it feels like a racing car," said the British-born Thai racer, who is making his racing comeback as a replacement for Mercedes-bound George Russell after a year on the sidelines as reserve driver for Red Bull.
"I think once we get towards the latter end of testing when we start seeking the true gains of the car, putting it on its limits, then we’ll really see what the car is like on the limit," added the 25-year-old.
Williams are looking to build on their performance from last season when they returned to the points with six top-10 finishes, including a second place for Russell at the Belgian Grand Prix.
That earned them eighth in the standings, snapping a streak of three consecutive years as the sport's bottom team.
Formula One this season is set for its most radical overhaul in decades.
The new regulations are aimed at improving wheel-to-wheel racing, with cars featuring revised aerodynamics and larger, 18-inch (45.72-cm) wheels, giving them a new look.
The changes have also resulted in a loss of downforce for the 2022 cars compared to their 2021 predecessors, billed the fastest cars in history, and altered their handling characteristics.
"It definitely feels very different to last year for sure," said Latifi.
"It feels like you're driving a heavier car but beyond that I was nowhere near the limit."
Williams, which was bought by U.S.-based Dorilton Capital in 2020 and whose founder Frank Williams died in November, last won the drivers' and constructors' championships with Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.
Their last race win was with Pastor Maldonado at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2012.
Their new car has a diamond-patterned, blue livery with touches of red.
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Christian Radnedge and Clare Fallon)