Komatsu welcomes Williams Racing driver Alex Albon to Osaka ahead of Japanese Grand Prix 

Williams Racing driver Alex Albon visited the home of team Principal Partner Komatsu in Osaka ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Over 3,000 Komatsu employees greeted the 28-year-old upon his arrival at the site, adorned by cherry blossom, as the Japanese race moved to its earlier springtime slot on the calendar. He was given a rapturous welcome as he arrived aboard a Komatsu WA100 wheel loader, with the excited workforce eagerly waving traditional Japanese fans.

Arriving at the Komatsu Training Centre, one of several stops on his tour, Albon met Senior Executive Officer Koichi Honda, Osaka Plant Manager Norihiko Tanigawa, GM of the General Affairs Department, Osaka Plant Toru Wakabayashi and Committee Chairman, Komatsu Union Osaka Branch, Yasuaki Yoneda before revealing a Komatsu HB205 Hybrid Excavator branded in special Williams Racing colours – created for the occasion.

Albon visited the manufacturing plant, where he got the chance to swap his Williams Racing seat for that of a Komatsu excavator, operating the machine via remote control. He proved to be an instant hit, ably using the machinery, and once again showing his skills behind the ‘wheel’!

An afternoon tour of ‘Plant 1’ allowed Komatsu staff to meet their new hero, lining a path through the plant to cheer on the Williams Racing driver and his team for the race in Suzuka this weekend. An impressive archway of Komatsu excavators created a fitting entrance, before the employees formed a human number #23 shape to commemorate Alex, who runs with the number 23 in Formula 1.

The tour continued through Komatsu’s Manufacturing Engineering Development Centre and Osaka Technical Centre, where staff quizzed the driver on his pathway to Formula 1. One of the design team, whose eight-year-old son wants to become an F1 driver, was given sage advice by Alex, who himself started his karting career aged eight.

The day ended with 140 of the employees enjoying a Q+A session, and taking part in a lucky draw, in which 20 winners received co-branded Komatsu and Williams Racing apparel. The visit provided the perfect start to Albon’s Japanese Grand Prix weekend with technology and innovation, passionate fans, and with Alex firmly in the driving seat.

AlexAlbon,WilliamsRacingdriversaid: “Ithas beenaspecialday formevisitingKomatsu’splantinOsaka, seeingtheimpressivefacilityupclose, alongwithits 3,000staff. IwasgivenauniquewelcomewithlinesofKomatsustaffwavingtheirflags asI arrivedinthepassengerseat oftheKomatsuhybridexcavatoranamazingexperience.Therearelots ofparallels betweentheKomatsuplant andourownWilliamsRacingfactoryintheUK,withtechnology andinnovationandateamofpassionateindividualsallcreatingvaluetogether. Itwasapleasuretoseeandspeak tosomanyoftheemployeesandalsotogetthechancetodriveanexcavatorviaremotecontrol.It was alot of funandalthoughI likemydrivingabitfaster,I couldreallyunderstandwhy Komatsuissopassionateaboutits industryandtechnologyespeciallythehybriddiggerthatwas giventheWilliamsRacingtreatment.

Komatsu is an exciting new partner for our team, and we are already enjoying the mutual

benefits of the partnership.”

Osaka plant is one of Komatsu’s twelve manufacturing plants in Japan and covers a vast 545,000 square metres across its entire site. It manufactures medium sized and large hydraulic excavators, large bulldozers, recycling equipment and final drive.

KoichiHonda,SeniorExecutiveOfficerof KomatsuLtd said: “Komatsuand Williamshave a greatsense ofsharedvalues,with acommonfocus onthe importantroleourpeopleplayin developing themost cutting-edgetechnicalsolutionsin ourrespectivefields.Ourteam atOsakareallyenjoyedthe opportunity tocompareF1technologywith Komatsutechnology –andit was great to hearAlex’sthoughtsonwhat itwaslike to operateanexcavator.”

About Williams Racing

For over 45 years, Williams Racing has been at the forefront of one of the fastest sports on the planet, being one of the top three most successful teams in history competing in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. With an almost unrivalled heritage of engineering and racing F1 cars and unforgettable eras that demonstrate it is a force to be reckoned with, the British squad boasts 16 F1 World Championship titles to its name. Since its foundation in 1977 by the eminent, late Sir Frank Williams and engineering pioneer Sir Patrick Head, the team has won nine Constructors’ Championships, in association with Cosworth, Honda and Renault. Its roll call of drivers is legendary, with its seven Drivers’ Championship trophies being lifted by true icons of the sport: Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve. The team have made history before and are out to make

it again with a long-term mission to evolve and return to the front of the grid.