Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020

Horner: Albon has same handling problem Gasly had

2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the handling problem Alexander Albon has in his Red Bull is the same as Pierre Gasly experienced at the team last year.

Albon replaced Gasly at the team 12 races into the 2019 season. He has now been at Red Bull for more than a year, and equalled his best qualifying position of the season so far today with fourth place.

Over the season so far Albon has struggled to get within half a second of team mate Max Verstappen in qualifying, but has tended to perform better in the races.

“The car can be a little bit sensitive at the rear, under braking,” Horner explained. “And I think that can make life difficult for Alex as it did Pierre last year. So that’s something that we’ve been very focussed on trying to address.”

Today’s performance by Albon was “his best quali of the season so far in terms of delta to his team mate,” said Horner.

“At Spa and Monza he was also been getting close. So he’s starting to make real progress. I think as we’re starting to improve the car, that’s certainly starting to help as well.”

Albon, who qualified 0.445 seconds behind Verstappen at Mugello, said he is feeling the benefit of being able to build up his confidence in the car.

“Each car has its quirks and it’s just being confident, really,” he said. “Once the confidence is there the pace improves. It’s pretty simple like that.

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“A good example is this weekend: In first, second, third practice, just on a track like this, you need a lot of confidence. It’s one of those high-speed circuits where you’ve got to be able to throw the car in and know it’s going to stick.

“In qualifying, that’s kind of what I felt: ‘Okay, this is this feeling good’. And the pace just comes like that. So it’s working with the team and getting comfortable with the car.”

Verstappen’s experience is partly why he has been able to adapt to the car’s handling imbalances, said Albon.

“Of course, at points, you just have to kind of get on with it and drive it. And that’s where obviously Max is very quick. He can drive a very loose car, he can drive very understeery car.

“He’s experienced as well, of course. He’s in his fifth or sixth year now with the team and I’m still getting there. But now working with the team and the people around me, it’s getting there.

“Spa and Monza already felt like a step forward understanding what I need personally to go faster and it’s kind of getting that consistently each week. Something to build on and have the consistency.

“I think the last two weekends have consistently been a step forward and that’s positive, rather than a little bit of up and down throughout the weekend or through race to race.”

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2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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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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26 comments on “Horner: Albon has same handling problem Gasly had”

    1. With very little hard braking.

  1. Horner had better demote Albon out of Redbull just like Gasly then, you know, same issue, same action, just to be fair.

    1. Fair? New to Earth? Albon had more points than Gasly over same number in RB seat. Albon comes through the field better than Gasly. Happy Gasly got his first win but that was an unusual race. Ya I know he still won, yada yada yada. So then I guess Gasly should take Bottas’ seat.

      Tell us how you REALLY feel. Ya thought so.

      Oh BTW, how was Gasly and Kyvat qually today. Go Danii!!!

      1. Lu Long you really have no comprehension of sarcasm do you lol.

        1. You weren’t being sarcastic though.

  2. I do wonder how much better Max is making that car look than it is. Sure he can drive it, but put him along side Hamilton in that other Mercedes… Now that is something I’d love to see.

    1. lexusreliability?
      13th September 2020, 3:10

      Alternatively put Hamilton in that Red Bull and it’s probably better than what Max is showing.

    2. We all would want to see that but it’ll never happen.

      1. Mercedes not putting Verstappen or Alonso in the other Mercedes, but retaining Bottas, shows how less they care about the fans of F1. They are destroying the entertainment value with their dominance and don’t do anything to help it.. I bet that if Mercedes were +2 seconds up on everyone, but there actually was an interteam fight, nobody would care that much about their dominance.

        1. That’s the main purpose of F1 nowdays is advertising for companies. Otherwise manufacturers like Mercedes wouldn’t even bother competing in F1.

          It’s also obvious from the placement of the camera that are pointed towards big billboards displaying logos of certain companies – it’s literally in the contract that companies are given a certain amount of TV time each race. That was how it’s been in the Ecclestone era, but it’s very likely it is the same in the Liberty era now.

          1. This is why we can’t have on-boards during the race as much.

  3. Which excuses are they going to make for Newey this time? That chassis has had problems since the aero rules changes in 2017.

    1. Exactly. Glad to hear someone notices it. I mean its still a top 3 car, but this faith in Newey hasnt paid off for almost a decade now

  4. The car is designed for Max, and the whole team is devoted to Max only. Whoever is in the other car is always going to struggle, unless they happen to have the exact same driving style as Max and get access to his setup info.

    1. This myth keeps coming up, but it’s not true. People just want this to be true.

      1. Red Bull functions just like Benetton in the Schumacher days.

        If that was untrue, they would’ve changed drivers already but they seem satisfied with Albon bringing scraps after every race.

        It’s not a top priority to solve his problems.

        1. It’s nothing like Schumacher at Benetton days.

      2. I don’t think we can say with certainty whether it is true or not. This is purely speculation on my part, but this insight from Horner leads me to believe the instability under braking may actually be favoured by Max, hence why it hasn’t been changed on this years car. So, @krommenaas may be right that to truly succeed at Red Bull, you need to have a driving style similar to Verstappen.

        1. @james
          “but this insight from Horner leads me to believe the instability under braking may actually be favoured by Max”

          But is isn’t; he only manages it better.

          1. I stand corrected then, I hadn’t heard Max was unhappy with the instability.

        2. Every team tries to make the best car possible. What can happen is that max with the experience he already has with the team is better to explain what he thinks is wrong with the car and that his car gets changed faster to his liking.

          Albon and Gasly had less experience so they might have more problems and uncertainty. This is to be expected cause they need to know the car and people first. That connection takes time. Ricciardo had the same problem at Renault when he joined, but his massive experience made it work, but it took half a season. It’s all about having faith in the car, if you don’t have it you can’t push to the limit. This is the problem with Albon and Gasly. No enough trust in the car, combined with pressure that you can’t make a mistake and the real possibility of a demotion. The loose car probably doesn’t help, but the idea of a car made for Max is ridiculous.

    2. @krommenaas
      Lol, another one of those.
      But please, explain, what is Max his particular driving style?
      Is that the driving style he used when he, at the age of fifteen, stepped in a standard F3 EC car and scored more wins than the rest of the field?
      Was it the driving style he used when he stepped in Vergne’s TR at the age of 17 and was immediately up to speed? Was it the driving style he used in his first season of F1 when he was trashing Carlos in a TR?
      Was it the driving style he used when he switched cars mid-season and outpaced Daniel?

      And come up with actual facts, like steering input, throttle application and brake distance compared to other drivers. I’m really curious what your answer is gonna be.

      Here’s mine: Max Verstappen is so good, you can bolt an engine and four wheels to a car shaped brick, and he’ll still go fastest than anyone else.

    3. @krommenaas True and the team knows this. Otherwise they would be much harder on Albon’s case.

      They don’t care either since they understand that Verstappen is slightly faster anyway. Makes no sense to waste too much resources on Albon. Just improve the car further for Verstappen and hope that Albon too profits somewhere along the line.

  5. In my opinion, Albon have shown better racecraft than either Gasly or Kvyat, in the RB seat till now. If he could close down the qualifying gap to Max, he’d be a very good ‘Bottas’ for RB.

  6. Yup. Neither of them can handle Max.

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