"You can't buy experience so easily" - Alex Albon on what he went through as a rookie at Red Bull

Alex Albon photographed during his Red Bull debut at the 2019 F1 Belgian GP weekend (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Alex Albon photographed during his Red Bull debut at the 2019 F1 Belgian GP weekend (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Alex Albon has opened up about his experiences with Red Bull in the 2019 and 2020 F1 seasons.

Albon started the 2019 season as a rookie on Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) before being called up to replace an underperforming Pierre Gasly after the summer break. The Thai-British driver repaid the faith put in him by Christian Horner and Dr. Helmut Marko with some impressive performances initially.

Albon was inside the top six in eight of the nine races he entered with Red Bull that year. The only time he missed out on the points was at Interlagos when he was pushed off the track by Lewis Hamilton whilst fighting for a podium late on. Incidentally, his loss was Gasly's gain as the Frenchman claimed his maiden podium that day.

During an interview with Tobias Grüner from German publication Auto Motor und Sport, Alex Albon revealed that the lack of F1 experience was his biggest hurdle during his 18-month stint at Red Bull. He said:

“I felt well prepared back then. But I would tell him that you can’t buy experience so easily. Everything takes time. Although I wasn’t in Formula 1 last year, I feel better prepared now than I did at the end of 2020. And when I say experience, it’s not just about the driving itself.”

After a difficult 2020 campaign, Albon was on the outside looking in as Red Bull chose to sign Sergio Perez instead to partner Max Verstappen. When asked to elaborate on what he felt went wrong for him, he added:

“I wouldn’t say anything went wrong. That would be an exaggeration. After six months I was put straight into a top team. Earlier than any other rider and without testing the year before. If you look at youngsters today, they get the chance to develop slowly. 2019 was a good year. Then in 2020 I struggled with the car.”

Alex Albon hoping to put his Red Bull experience to good use at Williams in 2022

Alex Albon's time as Max Verstappen's wingman could be crucial for Williams after the Thai driver revealed he hopes to use all his previous experience and knowledge in 2022.

Now at Williams after a fruitful year away from F1, Alex Albon shared his thoughts ahead of the new season in an interview with RacingNews365. The former Red Bull man said:

“It’s been a year where we’ve been really pushing hard to get a seat in Formula 1, and to have the opportunity to be with Williams, an up-and-coming team, and a team that has got great investment behind them, people who care for the team... Jost [Capito] as well is pushing hard to get the car more and more up the grid, [so] it’s very exciting to be a part of.”

According to Max Verstappen, Albon's inputs during development in 2020 were vital to Red Bull's cause in the 2021 world championship battle with Mercedes.

The 25-year-old was pleased to see the Dutchman win the world championship despite not having an F1 drive for the season. Albon went on to add, saying:

“F1 is a team sport and it doesn’t matter if you’re driving or not; there was a lot of satisfaction in seeing Max win the championship, you feel very much a part of that in some way, as does everyone else at the factory at Red Bull. I was very happy for him and, at the same time, during that year, there was a lot of experience gained. I spent a lot of time in the debriefs listening to Max and Checo [Sergio Perez] and seeing things from a different perspective, seeing how they work, seeing what they like in the car and testing things for them. It was quite eye-opening.”

Alex Albon currently has three points this season and is the only Williams driver to open his account so far. He is in P19 in the World Drivers' Championship standings as we approach the 2022 F1 Belgian GP.

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Edited by Anurag C
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