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Albon not setting targets ahead of F1 debut

  • Published on 11 Feb 2019 15:25
  • comments 0
  • By: Fergal Walsh

2019 Toro Rosso driver Alexander Albon is not setting any targets for himself for his maiden season in Formula 1. The British-Thai driver received an F1 promotion after the Red Bull junior squad opted to replace Brendon Hartley.

Albon spent the 2018 season in Formula 2, his second year in the category. After three pole positions, four wins and a further four podiums, Albon ended the championship in third place, behind fellow F1 graduates George Russell and Lando Norris

"In general, the way I’ve gone about my career and my racing, is I never set any goals on anything," he said. "Every year, it was just each race, take it step by step, focus and race in that session – whatever it would be, practice, qualifying, the race.”

“Just take it as it is. If you start setting long-term goals, you just put unnecessary pressure on yourself. I’m just focused on myself and let’s see how it all goes.”

Albon was originally signed to race in Formula E with Nissan for the 2018/19 season. The 22-year-old believes that the FE pre-season testing that he did will benefit him heading into the 2019 F1 season.

“I was fortunate to do some Formula E testing, so when I did that I learned a lot about the powertrain and it’s quite surprising how similar the two are,” he said. “I wouldn’t say the technology is the same, but the way you have to save energy and things like that, they’re very similar."

A majority of Albon's 2019 driving season was spent in Formula 2. But even though it's F1's primary junior series, Albon says that the jump in terms of speed is "really, really big."

"It was useful to have done that testing, I think it won’t be too difficult to adapt to that. Obviously, these cars are quicker than ever now, even if speeds might drop a little this year. But in terms of the jump from Formula 2 to Formula 1, it’s really, really big.

Read more: Toro Rosso launches the STR14

“That’s mainly from the downforce. I think the speed won’t be too difficult to deal with, it’s more just the pure width of the car I’ll have to get used to. Something which I think people don’t realise is just the sheer amount of people and the work ethic involved in F1.

“It’s different in the sense that you have so many people working for you and they’re all striving to be as quick as possible, so for a driver there’s a lot of interaction with the team. There’s always someone that I need to speak with in order to get the maximum out of the car.

“In Formula 2, I had two engineers, there was a head engineer and I had two mechanics in total. So that’s six or seven people and now I’m going to a team that’s got almost 400 people. It’s a different ball game but I’m getting used to it – It’s a nice problem to have.”

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Driver profile

  • Team Red Bull Racing
  • Points 197
  • Podiums 2
  • Grand Prix 38
  • Country TH
  • Date of b. Mar 23 1996 (25)
  • Place of b. Londen, TH
  • Weight 74 kg
  • Length 1.86 m
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