Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020

With the knowledge I have now, I’d perform better at Red Bull – Albon

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In the round-up: Alexander Albon believes he would be able to avoid the difficulties he had in his stint at Red Bull with the knowledge he has gained since then.

In brief

Albon believes he could perform better at Red Bull

Albon was promoted to Red Bull in the middle of 2019, becoming Max Verstappen’s team mate after starting just 12 races. But he was dropped at the end of the following season having struggled to perform.

After returning to F1 racing successfully with Williams, Albon believes he now has the experience necessary to make more of a similar opportunity in future.

“Other drivers who went through difficult phases in their careers, like Daniel [Ricciardo] at McLaren, had a hard time feeling comfortable in the car,” he told Motorsport Total. “So we tried to make me feel comfortable in the Red Bull. That somehow never really worked out.

“With the knowledge I have today, I could have done it. But in hindsight it’s easy to say.”

Yarborough dies at 84

Cale Yarborough, who started the Indianapolis 500 four times but was better known for his tremendously successful NASCAR career, has died at the age of 84. He won America’s top stock car championship for three years running in the seventies and took four wins in its blue riband event, the Daytona 500.

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Comment of the day

Sauber’s latest name change left many unimpressed, including @Mrfill:

They can put some silly name on it just because Aunt Doris’ pickled sausages (or some less reputable wannabe) has bunged them some money to do so but it will still be the Sauber team, so I will continue to call it so, as will many others.

Besides, having a sentence as a team name may not be such a great idea.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Regis and T3X!

On this day in motorsport

  • Born on this day in 1957: Beppe Gabbiani, who entered 17 F1 races and failed to qualify for all but three of them.

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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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13 comments on “With the knowledge I have now, I’d perform better at Red Bull – Albon”

  1. Coventry Climax
    2nd January 2024, 0:51

    Nice gesture from Brown.
    Congrats to Dennis. Deserved indeed.

    Ah, COTD. Yeah, let’s stick to Sauber. But a brilliant name for their drivers, ‘Aunt Doris’ pickled sausages’. On a white mushy bun with mustard and Sauberkraut.

  2. Too little too late anyway, not to mention an excuse, considering some drivers (namely Max) never had similar struggles despite comparatively less experience when first driving in a top-level team.

    I’m surprised how long the dismantling process took, as it takes roughly three weeks in Monaco & maybe four at max in other full temporary circuit locations, i.e., Melbourne, Baku, & Singapore.

    1. It takes a lot longer than 4 weeks to dismantle everything in Melbourne, @jerejj – and that’s in a place where there is plenty of space and little traffic to contend with.

    2. If you are talking about Albon… Max had more experienced than Albon before joigning a top team (almost 2 years at TR, spanning from mid 2024 to beg. 2026) and he joined RB when there was no real number one (Vettel had just left, RIC was in his second season for them).

      I’m not removing anything from Max, but let’s be honest GAS and ALB were thrown in hot water with very little experience and were unable to survive.

      1. The strange thing is, I always watched albon with a critical eye at red bull, first race I was already thinking: no better than gasly, but then he actually had a reasonable first year, but I expected him to improve a bit on the 2nd year, instead he got worse; had he performed like in 2019 I’m sure red bull would’ve kept him, but his 2020 was a disaster: how much worse can it get than being lapped by your team mate?

        Bahrain outer track, the one perez won and where verstappen got taken out early on, albon got 6th and said “it was the maximum for us”, tell that to verstappen!

        Having said this, I’d be curious to see how albon would do in a red bull again, but if I were the team principal I’d give him a race by race contract, can’t take such risks with drivers who underperformed that badly before.

      2. i always thought Max was #1 at Red Bull before his first season in F1. I mean cmon now, the way the media and commentators were talking him, it seemed pretty obvious to me. If you are #1, that means you will be the fastest on the team, almost 90% of the time, by hook or crook.

      3. HAL – True with Albon, although Gasly had a little more experience in comparison, not to mention Albon’s struggles only began after he’d already driven in the main team for roughly half a season rather than immediately.

        S – Not the case based on the info I could find by googling, which refers to 3-4 weeks by Linfox, the company that manages track infrastructure project.

        1. You can google it, or you can actually be there and experience it. Perhaps even be involved in it…..

  3. Albon gives much, much more depth in this wonderful interview with High Performance, which I don’t believe I’ve seen mentioned on RaceFans (apologies if I missed it). Well worth featuring, although part 1 alone is 1hr 22mins long! The presenters say they’d like to talk to more F1 drivers but it’s hard to imagine anyone else being quite as reflective, modest or insightful.
    I have enormous respect for Albon and I’m certain he would be well placed to handle Red Bull much better now, given the lessons he’s clearly extracted from the experience. But all the same, the problem that he describes would remain, namely that Verstappen likes a car that’s akin to when you have your mouse set to maximum sensitivity, and chasing that is a fool’s errand for anyone else. I really hope he gets another chance in a front-running car so we can see the best that he can be. In the meantime the sport is fortunate to have him.

    1. Yeah, that very interesting part about the RB setup is 38 minutes in. It definitely feels like Checo is dealing with the same problem, driving in a tense and stressed way that makes him underperform.

      I do wonder to what extent the car can be tuned to be less aggressive or whether they’d need two more or less separate cars (or get a driver that can handle a car as sharp as Max can handle.)

      1. Yep. It’s also interesting to hear (from around the 50 minute mark) the changes that he made during and after his year off. No more driving with his delta visible, to be purely in tune with his driving and avoid being drawn into overdriving. Not to mention getting an actual team around him – I hadn’t realised how unsupported he was during his RB time, but clearly he now feels that having a manager and various other kinds of support gives him the space to be the driver he needs to be.

        1. That part about needing a group of people around him I feel really points to an issue at Red Bull (though I guess Perez already had experience enough to create/take his support with him); recall how Mercedes felt they needed to mix up the driver’s teams to avoid them being too separated (and HAM feeling unsupported, and maybe doing less well than he could have?).

          I really don’t quite get why Red Bull weren’t able set up a better system inside their own team, as it is clearly important for driver success, and they are able to optimise so much else of their on track and off track performance while the 2nd driver thing has been an issue since the Vettel/Webber days with only the RIC/VER pairing not suffering from it for most of its span that it seems like something to prioritize.

  4. How much time does the Guardian think one has to watch sport if all of those events are “unmissable”?

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