Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2019

Albon wasn’t allowed to use his hard tyres during race

2019 United States Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon ran a three-stop strategy during the United States Grand Prix after a Pirelli told Red Bull he could not use his only set of hard tyres.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner revealed after the race a problem had been discovered with one of Albon’s hard tyres on Saturday.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t use the hard tyre with Alex today because on an install lap yesterday, it got what they call a ‘cold crack’. So Pirelli wouldn’t allow the use of that tyre and because it had done an install lap it couldn’t be replaced. So that wasn’t a strategic option available to him anyway today.”

Horner added the fault was “a little bit strange, you only see it when you’ve run the tyre, and I think it was a circumstance of the cold weather.”

Albon, who started the race on soft tyres, was forced to pit on the first lap of the race following a collision was Carlos Sainz Jnr. He ran two stints on medium tyres before switching to softs for his run to the chequered flag.

Horner praised Albon’s recovery drive to fifth place. “I think he’s done another very strong job,” he said.

“At the first corner I think he just was a victim of circumstance. I can’t see how he could have avoided that, there was sort of a pincer, being caught between the two cars.

“Then obviously he needed a front wing change, came out quite a way behind the field, was the quickest car on the circuit for a fair few laps. And then his passing of the traffic [was] phenomenal. He must have Carlos Sainz three times today on the different strategy that he was on.”

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21 comments on “Albon wasn’t allowed to use his hard tyres during race”

  1. “Horner praised Albon’s recovery drive to sixth place. “I think he’s done another very strong job,” he said.”

    Well he must have been even more pleased when Alex finished 5th then

    1. The actual quote is “Horner praised Albon’s recovery drive to fifth place. “I think he’s done another very strong job,” he said.”, unless some sneaky author has been in and amended it after initial article release ;-)

      1. Yup – it’s been corrected now @barryged

  2. I guess 3 stopper meant he was allowed to push as much as he wanted without caring for tyre life.

    1. Shouldn’t that be how they should all race????

      1. only if it’s faster over all, tyre care has always been a part of racing, F1 has never had a tyre that they could push for the whole race like they do in qualy.
        Having said all that, these jelly bean tyres have to go, they don’t add anything to the racing, they actually hold up the overtakes because the drivers have to back off so much.

  3. Can’t believe Pirelli would not replace the tyre…sometimes the rules are too stringent, indeed.

    1. I think the word you want to use is “could”. Yes, the rules should have allowed for some leeway in this instance.

    2. If you allow parts to be replaced when they become broken, then the teams will find ways to break the parts that they want to be replaced.

  4. I really do think the job Albon’s done this year has been amazingly impressive considering this is still his first year in F1, and having none of the support Norris/Russell have had. Going from a 3rd place finish in F2 with no F1 teams looking at him and destined for Formula E, to being parachuted into the Toro Rosso at the last minute with little preparation, and then being shoved into a race-winning Red Bull alongside Verstappen of all people after watching the guy he replaced get kicked out for not performing well enough. He’s been mainly driving on tracks he’s never driven on before and in the time he’s been in the Red Bull he’s outscored Verstappen and his consistency has been better than anything Gasly produced in the same car, with a season and a half’s worth of prior F1 experience and more races in the Red Bull.

    He’s done more than enough to justify keeping that drive, but the next target’s got to be to see him fight and pass drivers in similar machinery or outqualify Verstappen on merit.

    1. Agree with all of this. Great season and step up to RB, must be kept for next season when he’ll know the car and tracks.

      He personally needs to start beating max in qualifying and races on merit next season at least at some races, but if he keeps picking up consistent points like he has been I think RB will be happy with that for another season at least, leaving their ‘star’ to go for the wins.

  5. geoffgroom44 (@)
    4th November 2019, 14:10

    Declaration up front, I’m a Lewis fan and have been since before his first world championship.
    However, I find myself forced to comment upon the superb performance of Alex Albon at COTA.
    I watched as he climbed through the pack…not once, but twice…quite enthralled by his skills.
    First season in Formula 1? Amazing skills.
    Still much to learn of course, but he seems to be a fast learner and appears to have that ‘special ingredient’ that suggests a future world championship will be his. He clearly maximised the situation despite tyre limitations.
    Wonderful to watch even if I was distracted somewhat by Lewis’s skills :-)

    1. @geoffgroom44 It actually helps being on a 3-stop strategy though. Every time new (slower) cars to overtake while driving on fresh rubber yourself.

      Still I agree, Albon is an incredible racer. I found him very impressive at his first Red Bull race at Spa. It was amazing how confident he was overtaking reasonably fast cars at places where you wouldn’t even expect overtakes.

  6. As a Red Bull driver there is no doubt about who’s the best pick between him and Gasly.

    Gasly now is probably going to be another Carlos Sainz Jr. He is good enough to be there, as his races with have TR shown, but not enough to deserve a shot at the top teams.

    1. That’s a bit harsh. Sainz gave Max a real challenge during the TR time they drove together, well and truly good enough for a top team.

    2. Sainz, Ricicardo, Gasly, and now Albon are all good enough to be there.

      The problem is that Max is there too and Redbull don’t have the management ability to handle two strong drivers

  7. I am really quite appalled that a fault in a tire would be so severe, after an installation lap, that the tire maker would prevent the team from racing on the tire!

    Are there any tire or rubber experts here who can speak to how common this sort of thing is? I’ve tried to give Pirelli the benefit of the doubt the entire time they have been the tire supplier, but stuff like this suggests they aren’t up to making F1 quality tires. Or am I being too harsh?

  8. If a three stop strategy was the fastest option then most teams would’ve tried it. The fact is every thing he was forced to pit meant lost time behind cars that he had to re-pass. There were no free stops. Would’ve loved to see him race without being compromised from the start.

  9. Albon has certainly lift heads in his Rookie season and showing himself as another potential champion. This is a driver who was snatched away from Formula E at the very last moment and given his F1 seat, then given a promotion to the senior team and managed to raise his game accordingly.

    He has consistently shown race craft, an ability to make passes and a never give up attitude. Gasly criticised his Spa result, but, he fully deserved driver of the race for COTA, dropping out of the running at turn 1, climbing through the positions not once or twice, but 3 times (twice on mediums and once more on softs). A supreme drive from anyone, a exceptional drive for a driver still in their Rookie year…

  10. Frankly the most enjoyable driver to watch at F1 right now. I am really enjoying his overtaking style and moves, not just this year even back to his GP3 days.
    Hope next year he will pick up more pace and can fight with the bad asses. It will be much fun.

  11. Albon’s done an amazing job. I just hope he gets picked up by one of the other teams – lost a lot of faith in redbull mgmt of drivers with names other than Max…

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