Albon needs to build on breakthrough Mugello podium, says Horner

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Red Bull intend to keep Alexander Albon in their line-up for 2021, according to team principal Christian Horner, if he continues to make progress following his breakthrough result in Mugello.

Albon claimed his first podium finish in the Tuscan Grand Prix, passing Daniel Ricciardo to take third place in the closing stages of the race.

Following the race Albon told his team “thanks for sticking with me” as he drove back to the pits. There has been speculation over his future at the team as he has struggled to match the pace of team mate Max Verstappen.

But speaking in today’s FIA press conference, Horner insisted media pressure was the only reason Albon feared his place might be in doubt. “He only feels vulnerable because you guys keep telling him every week we should put somebody else in the car,” he said.

“It was really good for him to get that result. He came close in Brazil last year, he could have won the race at the opening race in Austria and obviously got turned out of that race.

“To get that first podium he had to do it the hard way. Daniel’s one of the hardest racers on the track and to pass him around the outside of turn one as he did I think was a great performance from him.”

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Albon is already “walking a bit taller” following his Mugello result, said Horner. “I think the confidence it will give him, hopefully he will build on that.

“He has got the full support of all the team. I think the team’s doing a good job with him, I thin his race engineer is extracting more from him and I think that confidence is growing.”

Red Bull will confirm “before Christmas” who will drive for them next year, said Horner.

“All the drivers are under contract to Red Bull on multiple years. There are trigger points at different times in their contract, but it’ll certainly be later into the autumn.

“Our intention is to retain Alex. He’s doing a good job. He just needs to build on the kind of performances he put in at Mugello and continue that development.”

Horner also dismissed speculation Max Verstappen could exploit an exit clause in his contract to leave the team at the end of 2020.

“Obviously the contract between the driver and the team is always going to be confidential and there will always be speculation regarding it,” said Horner. “But I’m 100% certain that Max Verstappen will be in a Red Bull Racing car next year.”

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2020 Russian Grand Prix

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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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7 comments on “Albon needs to build on breakthrough Mugello podium, says Horner”

  1. At this moment in time and taking their word for it, they certainly have more belief in Albon than in Gasly. I wonder if they know something we don’t? Is Albon faster than Gasly in the simulator?

    1. I think they realized that demoting Gasly mid season was a bit hasty after seeing seeing 2 drivers who did well in Toro Rosso suddenly are way off. Also who would they replace Albon with, from their own academy?

      1. I think Tost left a hint at what happened with Gasly at RBR, when he commented about PG’s win the other weekend. He spoke about how on returning to TR (AT) mid-season last year Gasly had a chance to build back up his confidence, but to me the key thing he said was that he started to learn to trust his engineers.

        I believe entirely that RBR were only fair and supportive of Gasly all along, and that it was Gasly that genuinely wasn’t ready for a top 3 team, and combined with having an outstanding teammate like Max, it just made sense that he be sent back down for further training, and it turns out that has been a successful decision.

        To me it would appear AA has come in better prepared to work with the team, and he certainly has had better results last year, having been thrown in mid-season, and this year under unique circumstances and with a car notably difficult on low fuel, and still up against excellent Max.

        I don’t buy for a second any rhetoric that Gasly and now Albon haven’t been supported entirely throughout.

  2. I think Red Bull learned that giving the second driver more time to develop is better than hiring a new driver.

  3. Maybe it would help if they actually support the guy a little? In Austria and Mugello we saw that when Verstappen is not in the race and the RB strategist actually can focus on Albon so they don’t just see Albon as a pawn or an afterthought, he can do well with a good strategy.

    Still I’m not impressed that much with Albon. His overtakes are usually clumsy and overly risky (outside moves mostly). Which shows he’s bold I guess but it also means he loses out often. Even when he does get that rare chance (Austria overtake and already busting up in Monza at turn 1)

    Maybe Albon would do better when the car is also made a bit more suitable to his driving style. At least it would cut down somewhat on those high risk and overly forced overtakes he needs to make.

  4. Albon really are a bit taller than every other drivers.

  5. At least Hamilton didn’t do a “hijo de p…” move on Albon.

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