Albon reckons Red Bull will help if F1 opportunity comes; needs quick decision
The Thai feels Red Bull will help but then he wants a quicker decision to pursue other avenues if need be.
Alexander Albon still eyes a F1 return amid simulator work and DTM racing, but if it is not the case, he wants quicker decisions to be available for other series'.
There are those who say Albon should still be on the grid and those who say Sergio Perez deserves his drive at Red Bull. He got his chance when Danny Ricciardo moved to Renault and Pierre Gasly replaced him at Red Bull, with the Thai starting at Torro Rosso.
Then, things got pear shaped for Gasly and Albon went to Red Bull with the Frenchman back to Torro Rosso. And then the Thai had a mediocre to good season in 2020 at the senior, but was eventually dropped for Perez.
This year Albon has taken up the role of being a test driver for Red Bull and AlphaTauri alongside DTM commitments, but F1 racing is where he wants to be. The silly season is in full swing with decisions to be made at Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Williams possibly and Red Bull too regarding Perez.
Albon is there, waiting, lurking in the background somewhat trying to put himself in the picture with Christian Horner Horner and Helmut Marko. He is still only 25-years, but he wants to and needs to know where he will be next year.
"In terms of an age, no I’m not old," said Albon to F1.com. "But F1 moves relatively quickly. More than a year out, the car gets tricky. A year’s break is as much as you can do. That’s what Esteban did. Fernando is a different example, but Fernando is Fernando.
"The car evolves so quickly, technology is improving. There isn’t a series out there that is close to F1. You can’t jump around and do different things. So it’s one year [out] maximum. A lot of the push now is making sure I can do everything I can and also being active myself, looking around, seeing what is out there for me," summed up Albon.
Racing drivers are racing drivers and they want and need to be racing. Albon has done a lot of sim work this year and despite DTM also, he cannot afford to be out of F1 for too long. So, without question that he has definite ambitions to be on the grid come the start of next season.
"There isn’t much around elsewhere on the grid," said Albon. "In some respects, I’m reliant on others not performing. It’s just the driver market in F1. I was lucky when I got my chance in F1, with Daniel moving - that shifted everything over. This year it looks a little stale in that sense. If a race seat isn’t available here, there are a couple of teams out there that there are possibilities with.
"It’s just one of those things where you have to wait and see." Since his arrival in F1, Albon has been always been involved with Red Bull in both a senior and junior level. Its not beyond the realms that he could break ties and he reckons that the team will help him if there is an opportunity at other team.
"Everyone has been super nice to me at Red Bull," said Albon. "Helmut and Christian, I’m sure if an opportunity did come about they would be open in helping me and supporting me. I’m sure the sim and reserve role would still be an option, too. For now, my main focus is F1, to see if there’s so space. And then we’ll see.
"It’s still relatively early in the driver market but you also have to realise other championships need to be decided in terms of seat position before F1. You can make a decision in F1 in August-November and it’s still fine. But if you look at other championships, like Formula E or Indycar, their seasons start earlier so they need things done earlier.
"You have to assess the landscape, and make sure you cover all the options, so it is difficult. Let’s see what happens," summed up Albon. The silly season is purely and simply a jigsaw and once one issue is confirmed, others fall into place, bit by bit. Albon has a lot of balls to juggle right now. He needs a decision to be made at one of teams and this might assist him but there are other series to consider in terms of racing options.
He has been linked to a Formula E drive, where he was supposed to make his debut before the F1 call-up came. But interestingly, he mentioned IndyCar too, where there is good Honda presence, which could be an option considering his close work with the Japanese manufacturer.
The story was written by Neil Farrell