Williams driver Alexander Albon, foreground, of Thailand, steers into a...

Williams driver Alexander Albon, foreground, of Thailand, steers into a turn followed by Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg, of Germany, RB driver Daniel Ricciardo, of Australia, and Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, of Canada, during the Formula One Miami Grand Prix auto race Sunday, May 5, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Credit: AP/Wilfredo Lee

GROVE, England — Formula One driver Alex Albon has ended speculation about his future by signing a multiyear contract extension with Williams in what team principal James Vowles called “a huge vote of confidence” in the once-dominant team's rebuild.

Wednesday's announcement comes after speculation linking Albon with an open seat at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton leaves for Ferrari at the end of the year, or a possible return to his old team Red Bull. The British-born Thai driver had been under contract at Williams through 2025.

Williams said the new deal will keep Albon at the team “into the new era of Formula 1 regulations,” which kick off in 2026. It did not give more details.

Ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Albon said he hoped signing a new deal would boost the turnaround project under Vowles.

“I’m hoping the fact that I believe in this team, to everyone at the factory, that’s reason in itself to realize that we all can do this," Albon said. "And I feel like and hope that I can give that reassurance in some ways to everyone, to know that I believe (in) this journey, so you should too.”

Since he arrived in January 2023, Vowles has been trying to modernize Williams, which dominated F1 for much of the 1980s and 1990s but hasn’t won a race since 2012.

With backing from U.S.-based investment firm Dorilton Capital, which bought the team from the Williams family in 2020, Vowles has aimed to shake up outdated procedures and technology which had caused costly delays to car design.

Williams driver Alexander Albon, of Thailand, talks with the news...

Williams driver Alexander Albon, of Thailand, talks with the news media ahead of the Miami Formula One Grand Prix, Thursday, May 2, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Credit: AP/Lynne Sladky

The 28-year-old Albon is in his third consecutive season with Williams. He has yet to score a point this year, but has been consistently faster than his teammate, American driver Logan Sargeant.

“It has been a difficult start to the year but since joining Williams we have made significant progress together and I have seen the huge changes happening behind the scenes to take us back to the front of the grid," Albon said.

Albon made his F1 debut in 2019 with Red Bull’s junior team, then called Toro Rosso, but was dropped by Red Bull in 2020. Albon last season scored 27 points to Sargeant's one to help Williams finish seventh in the constructors’ championship, the team’s best result in six years.

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