Alex Albon has given an honest assessment of his preparations before and during his first Formula 1 season in 2019.
At the beginning of the season, the Thai driver made the move from the junior Formula 2 category to Toro Rosso, replacing Red Bull-bound Pierre Gasly.
Alex Albon began life in Formula 1 well. He recorded five points finishes in his first 12 races. His best finish for Toro Rosso came at a rain-affected German Grand Prix, where he finished sixth.
But then his world altered completely. Albon made the move into the senior Red Bull team in a direct swap with Gasly. The move was seen as a perfect opportunity for Gasly to regain some form.
Now in a much quicker car, the early signs for Albon were again promising. He finished sixth or higher in seven of the final eight races. Had it not been for a collision with Lewis Hamilton in the late stages of the Brazilian Grand Prix, he could have earned his first podium.
Albon struggled, in comparison, in his first full season with the team in 2020. He secured two podium finishes but was consistently outpaced by team-mate Max Verstappen. At the season’s end, he was replaced by Sergio Perez.
After taking a season out, the Thai driver is now back in Formula 1 for 2022 with Williams.
Albon reflects on debut F1 season
Speaking to the Motor Sport Magazine Podcast earlier in January, Albon explained how he had signed up to Formula E with Nissan before the call from Toro Rosso came and that he had to change his plans quickly.
He said: “It happened very last minute … it was a tricky one because, obviously, with Nissan tied up and everything like that, it didn’t make it as easy as I wish it had been, to switch from Formula E to Formula 1.
“Obviously, as a driver my age, I always want to be in Formula 1. That’s everyone goal, being a kid.”
Albon explained that once he had signed for Toro Rosso, he was quickly thrown into the unknown, given the speed at which matters had progressed.
“It was such a quick process. And at no point until [towards the end of his 2018 Formula 2 season] had I thought F1 was possible, because I spent so long having never been really approached by a programme, never having this opportunity.
“And then suddenly, literally, at the last two races of my Formula 2 career, I got this opportunity and I was in F1.”
He then went on to say: “I was one of the most unprepared drivers, I think, ever to get into Formula 1.”
What happened to Alex Albon after his Formula 1 departure?
After being dropped by the Red Bull team as a senior driver, Albon instead became their test driver. He drove into the 2021 DTM series, winning one race and finishing sixth in the drivers’ standings.
Following the departure of George Russell to Mercedes, Albon is his replacement at Williams for 2022. He will thus return to the sport for the first year since a host of exciting rule changes.
He now has two-and-a-half seasons of valuable Formula 1 experience. Alex Albon will hope he is in a better place to succeed than heading into his debut season.
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