Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019

Podium finish “has to be the target” for Albon this year – Horner

2019 Belgian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he expects Alexander Albon to be in contention for podiums over the second half of the season.

Albon is driving his first race for Red Bull this weekend following his promotion from Toro Rosso. His team mate Max Verstappen has scored six podiums including two wins so far this year, which Horner says shows the standard Albon must aim for over the remaining nine rounds.

“The car is capable of delivering podiums,” said Horner. “So that has to be our target, to be challenging and pushing for podiums.”

“We want to see progression during these remaining nine races,” he added. “Let’s see where we are in Abu Dhabi and we’ve got a much better picture.”

Albon will have to start the race from the back of the grid as his car has a new power unit this weekend. Horner said this means he will have “a slightly less pressurised weekend which is probably a good thing for him.”

Today was Albon’s first chance to drive the RB15. He ended the day three-tenths of a second behind Verstappen, who was running a more conservative engine mode and made a mistake on his qualifying simulation lap.

Nonetheless Horner said Albon had “done a very good job considering he’s not sat in the car previously.”

“He’s got in, he’s got a very good feel, he’s given feedback very consistent with that of Max and I think he’s done a pretty decent job on his first day.”

“I haven’t seen all the analysis but he’s certainly within a few tenths which is encouraging for a first run in the car,” Horner added.

“They’ve been running different programmes in the afternoon, he’s done one day in the simulator for us and two sessions in the car and I think he said there’s quite a lot of differences to the Toro Rosso to adjust to. You can tell he’s very bright, he’s intelligent, he’s asking all the right questions. I’d say it’s been a positive first day.”

Albon has taken over from Pierre Gasly, who struggled on his last few outings for the team. In response to a question from RaceFans, Horner said Albon’s arrival has been good for morale: “I think certainly in the garage it’s put a spring in everybody’s step.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Podium finish “has to be the target” for Albon this year – Horner”

  1. All seems sensible, and a reasonable start of this 2nd part of his rookie season; hope Albon will have a good run, would be nice to add another competitor to the top 5 in most races, if we can’t have a midfield getting close this year.

  2. There are only 3 places on the podium. In fact, there is almost only one place, as Hamilton and Verstappen are usual inhabitants there. I would ask top 4 regular finishes from Albon, as podium finishes is too stressful task for a rookie!

    1. Yeah true and I would think even top 6 on a regular basis would be pretty good as top 4 seems too much. But that’s probably me still assuming that at most tracks the Mercs and Ferraris should be ahead of the RBR’s other than for the Max factor.

      However, nothing wrong with the target being podiums. Doesn’t mean they are expecting them I would think, but just that he at least be near them respectably. Be there if someone has unreliability or a crash.

      1. Maybe Ross could look at expanding the podium instead of messing with qualy.

    2. i think RB commounicated that they would like to see Albon on the podium (at least one time) at this season
      this can happen, not a small goal, but not an impossible either
      we have seen today, he did quite well. winning a race from the last row was a very rare feature even by the historical bests at their best times
      so this 5th place is definitely cool

      but of course being in top 4 without a Merc or Ferrari is quite unlikely nowadays, especially if Leclerc
      improves further fast what is quite likely

  3. If he can help them get past Ferrari in the constructors champ then I reckon he can almost write his own check for next season.
    Just not being lapped by Max will be a massive boost for the team.

    1. I doubt he will be well payed for it.

      1. almost every rookie is driving for rice compared to the bests
        but later even average or a bit better ones earn unbelievable money with the sponsorship
        and adverts, or a lucky contract at a wanna improve team

  4. He just said Gasly had too much pressure on him, and now he’s doing the same to Albon…

    1. Well said :)

      1. Hopefully Albon will be up for it.

      2. Putting one of the 20 top drivers of the world in a winning car and only ask for a podium in the remaining 9 races is no pressure. That’s the minimum.. If a driver really thinks that’s pressure he better stops driving.

        1. It’s only a winning car due to Verstappen, who’s driving better than the world champion elect.

          He’s basically being asked to drive better than Lewis Hamilton, who has a much better car and team behind him.

    2. Its not that much pressure… One podium with 9 races to accomplish it… And the Red Bull is the second best car right now. So it should be no problem to get at least one podium.

      1. Ipsom I take your point about Horner putting on the pressure, however, he isn’t insisting on a podium, just that that should be the target, and it is not like Albon didn’t already immediately know what his task would be as soon as he got the call. Better Gasly with the goal of helping RBR in snatching second in the WCC.

        1. Yes, well what do you think happens at RedBull to people who don’t meet their targers?

      2. Rubbish is it the 2nd best car. Even if it was, he still has to beat 2 drivers in a quicker car and Verstappen. 4th is the best he can hope for if he can beat both Ferraris.

        1. No, because bottas usually has off races and hamilton sometimes has off races, it’s absolutely no unrealistic task to get a podium for a decent driver at this year’s red bull.

          1. Gasly with that kind of driving wouldn’t have got a podium even at mercedes!

          2. @esploratore

            and what if Albon has his off races at the same time as Bottas and Hamilton? He will be forgiven for having more offs than them, so increases the odds. Then Verstappen and the Ferrari drivers will occupy the podium.
            His fastest time in free practice this weekend puts him 6th? Exactly where he should be.

    3. GtisBetter (@)
      30th August 2019, 21:06

      I think Horner implied Gasly couldn’t handle the pressure, however everybody knows you are expected to deliver when you get a top ride. The pressure is always there and your teammate is the benchmarker.

  5. i think many of you overrating Verstappen a bit
    i like him more and more, for example for his funny simracing footages, with cool humour fitting to his age
    but Leclerc is at the same age, with experience seasons less, and performing at about the same
    Norris having some 20 points less than he should due to mechanical failures… he could lead the midfield in
    rookie year. age about the same
    Russel having same age, a GP3 and a F2 championship title in 2 years, and beating Kubica (we cannot know if he’s that bad, or how bad at all now, i’d say hes not that bad even now. he was very promising in first seasons)
    Ricciardo was a similar promising rookie, and was not beaten by Verstappen in points until his last horrible season. If you take an average score of races they finished, the difference is minimal, altough it
    must have been hard for him to have some 8 mechanical or propulsion failures or grid penalties implied by them.
    All of them can turn into a future WDC, the field will be quite good, if this tendency goes on, hopefully
    with less and less pay drivers. So if you like him or not, it would be hard to predict that Versteppen will
    have the same results in terms of statistics like Vettel or Hamilton.
    Just a bit of unluck and any of these can do it instead of him.
    The worse is due to the best car is likely the most reliable too, makes differences bigger,
    WDC and Constructor title winnings in a row longer, so its not predictable at all.
    Personally i’d say Verstappen is very good now, i’m a fan of decent racing, so i’m happy with
    decent guys success in their own dimension, but its a warning sign that he only grew up to Ricciardo
    after 4-5 seasons.

    What if he not outscores him even at the last season? What if Ricc was a bit sabotaged with
    recieving the car parts of poorer quality from the delivered ones (but of course still safe ones)
    as a revenge for leaving. Even if it happened it turned to very bad for him, that way unlucky.
    At this level of space techology at F1 you can be sure they can examine them and predict
    even nuances. After treating their drivers quite hard, we cannot know. We cannot know anything
    around super big buisnesses unless they want to know :) If they did that we ll never know.
    I think it would be a great feature of Red Bull to create the youngest ever world champion.
    They love to do rotund things like that, they are very good at media. If Max looses another season
    to Ricciardo at previous year, his value may have declined a bit.

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