Albon has been linked to various top teams in recent weeks, including a return to Red Bull and a move to Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton from 2025 onwards.

While Williams team principal James Vowles clarified Albon is contracted to the Grove team until next year, he also added he would keep the outfit's long-term interests at heart if any offer came in for the 27-year-old.

"Should any decision go that way, it's because I'm very clear in my mind that I've made decisions that are correct for the team's long-term goals and not the short term," Vowles said.

Albon says he has a clear desire to return to a top team having approached the peak of his powers, but he initially hopes Williams can grow to become that team over the next two years. That means the rate at which the team progresses on and off the track will be crucial for him to decide whether it's in his interests to re-sign for the long-term.

"Where I stand is: I'm very excited to see how this FW46 develops, I want to see how the car feels in Bahrain and the subsequent four, five, six races and really get a feel for the progression that I hope we've made as a team," Albon said.

"My whole focus is on Williams and that's where I see myself. The rate of progression, to me, is also very important, so time will tell.

"I feel like I'm very close to my peak. There's always improvements to be done and there's still areas to improve, but generally, with my experience now and where I am, I feel like I am deserving of a car that can score podiums and fight for wins. And that's just being totally honest with how I see myself.

"More than anything, I want that team to be Williams. And that's where I put all my work and all my efforts into. And outside of that, that's just really: how does it fall into place? It's very clear to me, especially when you see the driver market, there's a huge interest in teams wanting the same driver for 25 and 26. That's how it looks like it's playing out. And let's see about that.

"Realistically I want to be with the team. If the team is where I want it to be, it will be a long-term contract. We're gonna go all the way or nothing. That's my idea with it."

Alex Albon at Williams Racing FW46 presentation Feb 2024

Meanwhile, Williams isn't expected to perform miracles on the short term as Vowles proceeds with the next stage of his rebuild, which will include a significant overhaul of its infrastructure.

When quizzed by about how he will judge if the team is progressing quickly enough for him to realise his ambitions, Albon replied: "It's a bit of a feel, to be fair to you.

"James always keeps me up to date with where the team is at, the progress and the areas we need to work on, the areas that I can help him improve and whatnot.

"He's very open in that sense, which is obviously a very nice relationship to have with your team principal. It's going to take time, you know, I think that 2026-27 is the period of time where I think we're going to be able to consistently fight for podiums, and obviously, that's quite far away.

"I just have to be happy with the journey that we're on and the progress that we're making. That's pretty clear in my view of where I see the team and where I want the team to be. And of course, I will be assisting and pushing for that as far as I can."