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Komatsu welcome Williams Racing driver to Osaka

Alex Albon on his visit to Komatsu’s Osaka Plant
Alex Albon on his visit to Komatsu’s Osaka Plant

F1 driver Alex Albon visits racing team’s principal partner ahead of Japanese Grand Prix

WILLIAMS Racing driver Alex Albon visited the home of team principal partner Komatsu in Osaka ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix.

More than 3,000 Komatsu employees greeted the 28-year-old upon his arrival at the site aboard a Komatsu WA100 wheel loader, as the Japanese race moves to its earlier springtime slot on the calendar.


Arriving at the Komatsu Training Centre, one of several stops on his tour, Mr Albon met senior executives before revealing a Komatsu HB205 hybrid excavator branded in special Williams Racing colours – created for the occasion.

Mr Albon also 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.

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 on Sunday.

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, before ending with 140 of the employees enjoying a Q&A session.

Alex Albon said: ‘It has been a special day for me visiting Komatsu’s plant in Osaka, seeing the impressive facility up close, along with its 3,000 staff. I was given a unique welcome with lines of Komatsu staff waving their flags as I arrived in the passenger seat of the Komatsu hybrid excavator – an amazing experience.

There are lots of parallels between the Komatsu plant and our own Williams Racing factory in the UK, with technology and innovation and a team of passionate individuals all creating value together.

‘It was a pleasure to see and speak to so many of the employees and also to get the chance to drive an excavator via remote control. It was a lot of fun and although I like my driving a bit faster, I could really understand why Komatsu is so passionate about its industry and technology – especially the hybrid digger that was given the Williams Racing treatment.

‘Komatsu is an exciting new partner for our team, and we are already enjoying the mutual benefits of the partnership.’

The Osaka plant is one of Komatsu’s 12 manufacturing plants in Japan and covers 545,000m2 across its entire site. It manufactures medium-sized and large hydraulic excavators, large bulldozers, recycling equipment, and final drives.

Koichi Honda, senior executive officer of Komatsu Ltd, said: ‘Komatsu and Williams have a great sense of shared values, with a common focus on the important role our people play in developing the most cutting-edge technical solutions in our respective fields.

'Our team at Osaka really enjoyed the opportunity to compare F1 technology with Komatsu technology – and it was great to hear Alex’s thoughts on what it was like to operate an excavator.’


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