Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Imola, 2020

Albon’s engineer apologised for late call to pit under Safety Car

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon’s race engineer apologised to the Red Bull driver after a late call to pit meant he missed a chance to change tyres during the Safety Car period.

After the race Albon said the failure to pit potentially cost him a chance to finish on the podium.

Albon was running in seventh place when his team mate spun into retirement at Villeneuve due to a tyre failure. The team initially told him not to pit when the Safety Car came out.

However Red Bull decided to take advantage of the opportunity to put on fresh tyres the next time around. Late in the lap Albon was advised to stay close to the cars ahead. He was then told to pit – but was already alongside the pit lane entrance when the message came.

After the race Albon’s engineer said: “Sorry about that call it was too late, obviously. That was my fault, my bad.”

“No worries, mate,” said Albon.

Had they been able to make the pit stop, Albon believes he could have been able to compete for a top three finish.

“It was one of those races where we spent the whole race behind other cars,” he said. “There wasn’t much to do there. Possibly, in hindsight, we should have stopped when the others did at the end of the race.”

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Having stayed out on older tyres, Albon was easy prey for those who put fresh tyres on at the end of the race. “Of course we were the first cold tyre car for them to come across, so it was always going to be difficult to hold them off.

“If we stopped, we could have been looking for a podium, but that’s just the way it is.”

Albon was overtaken by Sergio Perez, who had fresh soft tyres, then lost control of his Red Bull on the exit of the Villeneuve chicane.

After the race Albon asked what had happened when he spun. “It looks like wheelspin first and then you got hit after that, to be honest,” said his engineer. “I don’t think I would have spun by myself but okay,” Albon replied.

Speaking after the race Albon said it felt like he had been hit from behind. “I got told I did, but maybe that’s wrong. If I wasn’t hit, it was just cold tyres and lack of downforce. I thought a McLaren had showed its nose, but maybe I’m wrong.”

Despite the late spin, Albon says he believes his overall performance at Imola was “not a bad weekend” for him.

“Of course I’m hanging in there, I’m doing everything I can,” he said. “It was, in retrospect, not a bad weekend for me. But we’ll focus ahead on Turkey.”

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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22 comments on “Albon’s engineer apologised for late call to pit under Safety Car”

  1. was “not a bad weekend” for him.

    no, that’s the problem. Its getting a standard weekend for him.

    1. It was an awful weekend. He was significantly slower than his teammate and he spun out in Vettel style when he was coming under pressure. For me… This race was the nail in the coffin on his red bull drive. He’s out for sure.. I think red bull might announce his replacement just after the Turkish gp.

      1. I really find it interesting how this is the first time Red Bull are actually defending their No. 2 driver this time @todfod, since they have a habit of actually being pretty harsh on any but their “chosen one” driver all the way back to Vettel.

        But yeah, if that drive was not “a bad weekend” for Albon, then there really is no hope for him.

        1. @bascb

          Red Bull are actually defending their No. 2 driver this time @todfod, since they have a habit of actually being pretty harsh on any but their “chosen one”

          I think they’re just defending a bad decision taken by Marko and Horner himself. They made a mistake with Gasly and an even bigger one with Albon. Additionally, they let go of Sainz, who would have been a great #2 driver at Red bull.

          Now they’re in trouble.. The least they can do is damage control by putting either Hulkenberg or Perez in that 2nd seat for a season on two.. And maybe start looking outside of the Red bull stable for talent. Russell and Norris should definitely be on their shopping list, and maybe Bottas as well.

          1. That seems all pretty reasonable. I think that we should add Albon clearly having some Backing or sympathy from the Thai majority owners of Red Bull @todfod.

            I think they would do well to sign Perez, Hulk, or indeed if they could lure Bottas over. Norris might not quite be there yet, although Sainz is a hard nut to compete against as well, so he might be.

      2. I had the same feeling after the race. I like Albon but he has too many unforced errors and rarely is in the same race as Max. It is time to get a contract to Perez, he can deliver the points and make Merc work harder on strategy.

        Nico might be in the running but Perez had the upper hand when he raced side by side with Nico.

        Maybe move Albon back to racing with Gasley..????

  2. Someone clearly sabotaged both Red Bull drivers.

    1. Christian, is that you?

  3. If a better driver was in the car RIC would not be smiling his way to podiums this season.

  4. Yeah, it was a bad position to be overtaken. The car ahead took away the air flow required to generate downforce. Consequently he had less grip as he tried to strighten up. That spin looked odd, but it says something for the way these cars are setup, and just how sensitive they are to airflow.

    1. It had nothing to do with airflow, he planted the throttle too hard as the car was still exiting the corner thus causing traction to fail and instigated the spin. The fact that afterwards in interviews he tried to blame Sainz and didn’t even know it was his fault spoke volumes about his ability.

    2. someone or something
      1st November 2020, 22:31

      That’s a far-fetched explanation if I ever saw one. That was a slow corner, aerodynamics were not a major factor in this. And even if they were, driving too close to another car makes you lose front downforce, leading to understeer. The only thing this incident tells us is that the pressure got the better of Albon.

  5. These things happen, but unfortunately for Albon, that spin came at the worst possible moment

  6. You can pick out decisive moments that cost you this or that, but if you are in the second best car, it means you have to finish third and four, and out of 13 occasions this season, it happened 2 times to him. Yes, sometimes bad luck hurt him, yes, Verstappen is not the easiest teammate to beat, but he doesn’t need to beat him, just get close as much as possible, and this much might not be enough.

  7. That call definitely did not cost him a shot at a podium. We saw how it worked out for Perez.

    1. … and we also saw how it worked out for Kvyat, who was definitely had a chance to finish on the podium.
      Albon didn’t claim that he would have gotten a podium, only that he would have had the chance of one.
      Both Kvyat and Perez had fresh soft tyres – Kvyat was definitely fighting for a podium, whilst Perez was just one car away from being in the fight for a podium. It’s entirely conceivable that Albon would have been in that fight too, had he had fresh softs, assuming he didn’t lose any track position.

      1. @minnis he probably would have ended up losing track position as he was originally running behind Perez on track – he only got ahead of Perez because he ended up staying out by mistake.

        In that scenario, Albon would have had fresher tyres, but probably fallen back to at least sixth place on track – at which point, he has the problem of trying to pass Perez, who is also on the same soft tyres, whilst facing competition from Kvyat, who also changed onto fresh tyres. In those circumstances, given he’d be stuck in a pack of drivers also on the same soft tyres, it’s debatable whether his odds of getting a podium would be that much better.

  8. Albon apologized for arriving late at the finish as well

  9. Ricciardo and Leclerc also stayed out on used hards but managed to avoid spinning.

  10. They should have promoted Kvyat last season until Albon was ready. Then promote Alex for the 2021 season.. Now Albon is Damaged goods. He was holding up Kvyat all race. He lost all confidence and pace.

  11. To win (the podium place) first you need to finish the race. You were last boy…

  12. First had he changed tyres he’d have needed to overtake 3 or 4 cars which frankly he doesn’t have the talent to do. Second, had he been in 4th place as he should have been easily given the car he was driving then he’d have been in prime position for the podium anyway.

    The only blame for his awful weekend his himself. Unable to keep within the track limits, too slow on one lap pace, even worse in race pace. No way Verstappen would have stayed behind those cars all race.

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