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Red Bull Racing

This former Red Bull driver got it wrong: 'A yes-man'

Alexander Albon's year and a half at Red Bull is still fairly fresh in the memory. Did he do very badly? Looking at Sergio Perez, you would think not. But he did, by his own admission, sell himself short.

Alexander Albon
Article
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

The 2019 Formula 1 season was a roller-coaster ride for Alex Albon.

The Thai-British driver initially planned to race with Nissan in Formula E, before he got the call up from Red Bull Advisor Helmut Marko to drive for Toro Rosso.

Six months into his F1 career that turned into one of the fastest promotions ever seen on the grid, after senior management elected to swap out the underperforming Pierre Gasly for Albon.

While it was a great opportunity to showcase his talents in a race-winning car, it proved to be too early for Albon as things started to get more serious compared to his time at Toro Rosso.

"The attention for that seat, which had already been given to many drivers, was huge," Albon told F1.com.

"I struggled with that media attention. I had no manager and, apart from my trainer, I was on my own."

Albon: "I'm much more relentless now"

This was compounded by the fact that he did not have enough experience to provide adequate technical feedback yet, having come fresh from junior ranks.

"In the junior categories, your speed alone is enough. Technical feedback is less important there. In Formula 3 and Formula 2 you gain some experience in that area, but the level on that in F1 is a lot higher," he explained.

"I didn't have the experience to know what 30 to 40 solutions you can use to solve every problem."

On top of that, he faced those challenges while exhausting himself more and more, especially mentally which impacted his results on track.

"I was far too much of a 'yes-man' at Red Bull. I was so eager to impress and please people that I said yes to everything, whether it was simulator work, PR obligations or whatever," said Albon.

"I always put the team's interests first, which meant I was already all up when I got in the car."

The year on the sidelines then allowed Albon time to reflect on issues. It makes him look at things differently now at Williams.

"I'm much more relentless now. I put my own interests first and the reason is simple: I have to care about myself more than others care about me," said Albon.

"There has to be a balance between being ready for the team and making the team want to be ready for you as well."

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