Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Albon: “I don’t know what to do to manage the tyres better”

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon said he didn’t know how to get better performance from his tyres after using all three compounds during the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was the only one in the field to resort to running the hard tyre, which others rejected following its poor performance in practice on Friday.

Albon started sixth but finished the race in eighth place. “I honestly don’t know what to do to manage the tyres better,” he told his team on the radio after taking the chequered flag. “I literally cannot do anything on entries or exits, it just snaps all the time.”

“I don’t know really where to go faster,” he added.

Having pitted twice, Albon took the chequered flag behind Sebastian Vettel. Told the Ferrari driver ran a 37-lap stint on soft tyres to make his one-stop strategy work Albon replied: “No way. Our tyres were gone after seven laps.”

Speaking to media after the race Albon said: “We had no tyre life on all tyres. We just struggled.

“I was trying to nurse them as best as I could but they kept falling away from me. We need to have a look, see what went wrong and come back strong.”

While Albon has been able to gain positions in several recent races, he found it much harder to pass other cars at the Circuit de Catalunya.

“Mainly in sector three I couldn’t stay close enough so I couldn’t overtake anyone,” he said. “I was kind of a sitting duck. We were okay in sector one and sector two but then if you’re not good in sector three you can’t overtake.”

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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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46 comments on “Albon: “I don’t know what to do to manage the tyres better””

  1. I’m starting to believe the red bulls of late are sort of like the Marc Marquez’s Hondas or Casey Stoner’s Ducatis… Kind of a shoe that fits only one, and no matter who tries, no one can get the best out of it.

    1. János (@meandthewanderlust)
      16th August 2020, 21:27

      Either this, or Max and Márquez are just massively overperforming…

      1. Verstappen is no F1 equivalent of Marquez, sorry.

        1. Probaly a much better one!

        2. Max is the best driver on the grid.

          1. Marquez delivered on his promise. Something Max is yet to do.

          2. Verstappen has never had a car capable of competing for a championship.

    2. Just like the Ferrari seems to fit Leclerc better than Vettel…
      And the Racing Point somehow manages to make Stroll not look bad. (he isn’t really bad though, even when more than half the grid are better drivers than him)
      And the Williams which allows Russell to fight the other back markers while Latifi has the red lantern (that may not be entirely car related)

      1. No, the racing point is a good car and even a rusty Hulkenberg could extract a good performance of it.

        Vettel’s diffuser-blown championship cars from ’11 and ’13 are a better example.

        1. @Edvaldo IIRC, the blown diffusers weren’t a thing in 2013 anymore. In 2010 and ’11, blown diffuser for the former, and exhaust blown diffuser for the latter. These diffusers got banned for the following season.

    3. Atleast this year Nakagami has been able to copy Marquez’s bike setup and use it to good effect in race conditions.

    4. Albon said that every tyre performed very well but after 6 laps they dropped performance (Hard, medium albon struggles to keep them alive)

  2. Stick Hulk in the 2nd Bull,
    Stick Albon in the 2nd AT
    Stick Kyvatt in to reserve.

    Work out who is better Albon or Gasly.
    Work out if Hulk can get close to Ves

    Based on the above, work out the drivers for next year because currently that 2nd seat at Red Bull is probably being wasted.

    1. Put Bottas in Max his seat and Max in Bottas his seat because currently that 2nd seat at Mercedes is being wasted.

      1. I’d actually find it very interesting to know how Bottas would fare alongside Verstappen

        1. @tango Max would kill him, by now after ALL these years it should be obvious to ANYONE that bottas does NOT have the killer instinct, he is a beta male.

        2. Why? Verstappen allready is handing Bottas his @ss over to him driving an inferiour car

          Verstappen would destroy him

        3. I think Max is a better driver than Valtteri, nonetheless Valtteri is in the top 5 of current F1 drivers. He does challenge Lewis for pole, he does take a win from time to time in the same car.
          He does get the inferior strategy calls to blur the image further, plus the clumsy fuel load error impacting him negatively.
          At least MB allowed him to take the extra point for fastest lap, even when he already held that. MB always excels in lip service and stale presents…

          1. Want to ser Bottas win a race? Let him lead the way. That’s by far the easiest way with him.

            His racecraft is way too cautious and he can’t save tyres nearly as well as Hamilton, thus fails to make strategies work and newbies believe this talk he gets the worse strats because of that.

          2. Yes he is fast over a single lap but the only way he can win is to get that pole and not needing to attack from anywhere. I’ve never seen him win having not led into t1. Max and Lewis shows the alphaness that a great driver should have and Bottas got beta’ed by stroll

    2. @Paul Yes, Red Bull could do exactly this, and temporarily break their long-standing tradition of only bringing in drivers from the B-team by giving Hulk a chance for the remainder of this season as a stop-gap solution, although I’m not entirely convinced he’d necessarily be any closer to Max, although position-wise a bit more open, but not a definite given either.

    3. You’re not too far off a reasonable strategy for the RB stables, Paul.
      And with Grosjean wasting a Haas seat there should still be room for Kvyat.

  3. I feel for the kid. It’s obvious that his relationship with the car is the same as Seb’s in the Ferrari. When you drive a car that doesn’t suit your driving style, you start overdriving, you don’t feel confident, you use up the tyres, you go slower… it’s a vicious cycle. It’s just that Seb has the inner confidence/knowledge that he’s a capable driver, and Albon hasn’t got that built into him yet.

  4. If team would not have put him on hard tyres (and that at the wrong time), he might have had a reasonable race.
    It hurts though that Gasly in the AT continues to be all over him.

    1. It’s amazing how Gasly looked like a complete clown at RBR and now looks like the next big thing, and certainly smoking Kvyat most of the time. Now it’s Albons turn in the dunk tank. Both these guys were highly regarded. I don’t want to say this is due to RBR because it would not make sense. Maybe they should try a new chassis for him.

    2. @coldfly Indeed, the decision to go for the hardest compound was a mistake. He would’ve been better off going for the medium and also stopping a few laps later than many other drivers who started with the softest compound. These types of experiments would be better to do only on more overtaking-friendly tracks if anywhere.
      @dmw Yes, Gasly looked like a complete clown at RBR and has done better after the demotion pre-2019 Belgian GP, and yes, Albon’s case this season has been somewhat similar to his, although Albon’s results and pace were consistent last season in the events he did at RBR than this. I doubt a monocoque (or chassis) change would necessarily make a difference in the end.

  5. He was put out twice in a traffic jam after getting himself right behind the RPs at the start. And it’s hard to pass on this track without a major grip advantage, which the hards did not offer. He should be asking the team some questions. I thought he fought like a fiend to make passes and just gut shuffled back at the stops.

  6. I like Albon, he seems like a nice chap who has a good turn of pace. Perfectly competent driver who has the potential to win races, however, as things stand, it appears his confidence is shot and it doesnt look like the team is doing him any favours. This isnt a surprise though, RB expect their drivers to perform week in week out. In years gone by, by now, he’d have been under pressure. with his seat at stake.

    I guess due to circumstances (COVID, his performances last year, and lack of anyone else in the RB camp) he will probably finish the season. I think the question RB need ask themselves is, what can they expect next year?

    I doubt they will get any closer Merc, in fact, I think the fight for second and third will get more dicey. RB are clearly ahead of the rest, but Mclaren are in the ascendancy, RP and there or thereabouts, Renault with Alonso will be a testy proposition, Ferrari may improve as well meaning scoring a strong total of points every race becomes more important. Essentially, RB will have a fight from second in the championship, because I think the drivers and teams below them may be more consistent. Albon will need to finish closer to Max to maximise their points.

    For this reason, Hulk should be considered as a potential candidate. I doubt he will beat Max, but he wont be far off. On weekends that RBs are close to Merc, having a second car in the mix will put more pressure on Merc. RB certainly have to consider this.

  7. Unfortunately Albon’s brilliant start off the line was ruined when he got balked by Bottas who had been pushed out by Stroll.

    From that point on he was pretty much finished – there just isn’t the opportunity to overtake at that track.

    RBR then threw him further under the bus by using him as a test dummy with the hards so they could get the best out of Max’s strategy (which was fine) and dumping him out behind a DRS train that gave him pretty much no chance to work his way back up the field.

    That single block on the first corner cost him dearly – if he’d got through that, he’d pretty much have been cruising behind max, albeit about 15 seconds or so, for most of the race. Just a really crap track that didn’t really allow any decent racing and featured nothing but people driving slowly to manage their tyres.

    1. @dbradock Yes, the strategy wasn’t the only thing that made life hard for him, but also Bottas costing him a chance to get ahead of Checo by inadvertently blocking him at T2. Had Albon being behind only one RP rather than both after the first corners, things might’ve been different for him later strategy-wise, but he was just unlucky with where he was at T1 and T2.

    2. How is any data gathered by Albon during the race useful for Max. The way that Albon drives that car, makes it look like he is driving a different car altogether. He is 8 tenths to a second slower, he eats through his tires within 8 laps.
      How is that data going to be useful when the inputs from Albon don’t even come close to be similar to Max?

  8. So it’s exactly as it seems, Albon can’t consistently find the limit of the car and then drive on that limit of the car.

  9. With hindsight the tyre to be on was the medium even if going for a one stop. Also stoping Albon so early put him way down the order of close fighting cars that started the race on new mediums that are one second faster. He had little chance of getting past them.

  10. He’s a second year driver with the best driver on the grid as teammate.

    Verstappen will make any teammate look bad.

    He’d be 6-0 in qualifying if Bottas was his teammate.

    1. Yeah but being consistently over 0.5 seconds slower in qualifying and battling the midfield on race days, whilst the other car is on the podium/winning is terrible.

      To then say “I don’t know really where to go faster,” is asthonishing really.

      If the other car laps everyone but the top 3 guys, Albon needs to at least 4th (last in class) and not a lap down behind struggling to keep up with midfield cars.

      (I would’t be any good either, but then again, I’m not an F1 driver)

      1. Albon is never going to be closer than 0.5 second to Verstappen. Verstappen is a cut above the field much like Schumacher in the 90’s and 00’s.

        1. This is kind of what I’m seeing; for both RB and Merc. It’s strange to me that the conversation has been how bad/slow Albon and Bottas have been and not on how good Hamilton and Verstappen are driving right now.

          As for Red Bull, they’ve been playing musical chairs with their seats for a while now and I have to wonder if they should just stick with who they have and see how it plays out for a couple of seasons.

  11. If anything he’s doing worse than Gasly was at this stage. Very unimpressive. People seem to like him and cut him plenty of slack but he’s really not up to the job. Is it the pressure? My left-field suggestion would be to drop Kvyat at the end of the season and put Albon back at STR alongside Gasly. Then promote Tsunoda straight to RBR. Why? Well, as a complete novice there would be no pressure at all on him, and he may thrive. Plus he’s been perhaps the quickest F2 driver this year in raw pace.

    1. The big difference with Gasly is the overtakes Albon makes. Gasly did no such thing in the RB ( but he is doing now in the AT)
      So during the races Albon did impress in the races. This one was very bad in quali and racing.

      1. No he didn’t impress in the races. Often he’s over a second a lap slower than Verstappen.

  12. It’s funny how Red Bull, after meeting with Alonso for a possible drive and finding his demands too much, probably thought that he needed them more than they needed him, but look at them now. Floundering for years with no end in sight. They could have had two cars up there scoring top points (=earning millions) with the freedom of playing with strategy and car development (both drivers very adaptable) which in the long run is priceless, but rather have operational failure betting on rookies than give concessions to an outcast.

    1. @balue only Alonso kept that storyline alive.. no RB affiliated person ever confirmed this fairy tale.
      We will see next year how Alonso will do..

      1. About RB and Alonso discussing a drive? Horner has already confirmed it.

        1. It’s him who said Alonso’s demands were not acceptable. RB was probably expecting him to accept whatever they offered. What a mistake.

  13. Statements like these are not confidence inspiring. It shows the mindset of a clueless driver who would rather give up and walk away.

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