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'Easy to forget' 2019 was Albon's first F1 season - Horner

  • Published on 09 Dec 2019 10:12
  • comments 3
  • By: Dieter Rencken & Fergal Walsh

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes it's "easy to forget" that the 2019 season was Alexander Albon's first in Formula 1. 

Albon started the season racing with Toro Rosso, having received a late call-up in November last year to replace Brendon Hartley at the Red Bull junior squad.

Midway through the season, Albon found himself in a race seat at Red Bull, replacing Pierre Gasly who struggled to get up to speed after stepping into Daniel Ricciardo's former seat.

MOREAlbon crowned Rookie of the Year at FIA gala

Albon scored top-six finishes at every race for Red Bull except Brazil, when he made contact with Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the race amid a battle for second place.

Horner hailed the Thai-British driver's ability to learn quickly and understand F1, having been thrown into the deep end early on in his career.

"It’s easy to forget that it is his first year in Formula 1," Horner said. "He’s getting better and better understanding the tyres, the complexity of how the cars operate. You see on Sunday that his pace is getting closer and closer."

Horner pointed out in Abu Dhabi that Albon was faster than the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, who caught up to the Red Bull driver in the final laps after pitting for fresh tyres.

In Abu Dhabi, he was quicker than Sebastian, to be honest with you. We tried to get ahead of Sebastian with his slow pit stop, but didn’t quite make it.

"Then after he was able to run easily at his pace. His pace is definitely is getting stronger. A proper winter, pre-season, he knows the drill in F1. He’ll go to Melbourne a much better-prepared driver."

Red Bull will 'hopefully' start 2020 on the front foot

Red Bull ended the 2019 season with a strong car compared to where it was in the pecking order at the start of the season.

It has been a common theme of the energy drink squad over the last handful of years, however with little changes in the regulations coming for 2020, Horner is hopeful that the team will start the year strongly

"Going into next year, we have stability of regulations, so theoretically, the car that you see in three months will be an upgrade on the car that is here.

"It would be very unusual to get any team to completely abandon a concept and it feels like we’re on the right trajectory. Unless we miss something, hopefully we can be competitive from the start of next season."

Replies (3)

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  • I don't mean to sound like a hater, but I insist that Albon was solid, but not spectacular. If anything, his performances with Red Bull exacerbated that belief. He's so far from Max. Closer that Gasly in quali, but about the same on Sunday.

    • + 0
    • Dec 9 2019 - 19:59
    • Not bad for his rookie year though. He didn't have the speed of VER but better consistency for the most part of the second half of the season. It turned out to be a good thing all around that Gasly did well at STR. He kind of redeemed himself. Sort of strange that he didn't perform as well as Albon against VER but did very well against Kvyat. That's the perception anyway. It would be interesting to see the stats on how well or poorly he did perform against Kvyat.

      • + 0
      • Dec 10 2019 - 05:28
    • Well yes, solid indeed, but A: he is a rookie, I'd dare say they've all been very solid albeit most not particularly spectacular... yet... and B: he really had no proper time with the RBH car before getting put in it. As for why Gasly didn't perform as well at RBH: Gasly seem to require a very stable car, and the RBH car is apparently all but that. So it didn't fit him, hence we might not have seen his true pace in the main team.

      • + 0
      • Dec 10 2019 - 07:15

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