Albon has been asked to complete a very difficult task – Step up mid season in a new car and compete for championships points. He must do this knowing his predecessor was deemed to have failed at the same task with less than a season to prove it. On top of that, he must do it next to a driver that squeezes everything out of the car and then some.
Oh. and Alex Albon must do it all in his rookie season.
You really couldn’t write the level of drama that has occurred inside the Red Bull Racing Team who is desperate for results after making the switch to Honda powered engine. The split from long-time power unit supplier Renault was a controversial one – and one of the main reasons Red Bull star decided to make the switch to Renault. The duo had produced 4 F1 doubles in the world drivers’ championship as well as the constructors’ championship with Sebastian Vettel. But after a string of retirements most notably in the 2018 season, Christian Horner and the Milton Keynes-based team decided to strike a new partnership with Honda for their power unit.
So Albon has his hands full with a new power unit, a tough teammate dynamic, all while trying to learn as much as possible in his rookie season. Like all rookies, he’s had some shunts and slip ups that have hurt his ability get results. But he’s still managed to get them. If you are here, then you are interested in hearing evidence and presented with facts so you can have an opinion on the Alex Albon Red Bull 2020 seat debate.
Spoiler Alert: I am happy to have been proven right throughout this article with recent news that Alex Albon confirmed by Red Bull Racing for the 2020 Formula 1 season.
Alex Albon Red Bull 2020 Hopes Still Alive After USGP
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams Regarding Kubica’s Exit
I think we counted something like 15, 16 overtakes today. It’s a strong recovery, I think you forget that he’s in his first year, even. We’ve been really encouraged with the development he’s been making – another positive day for him.
“I think I got sandwiched. No one’s fault, really, one of those things, we took some front wing damage, some floor damage. I was like ‘here we go, it’s going to be a long day”
What will come with time is his race craft in a Formula 1 car. He’s had to battle back from a pit lane start on 3 occasions in 2019 alone. But he’s consistently been able to get to where he needs to be. The fewer mistakes he makes in practice like Russia and Mexico, the better he can position himself for a better qualifying run. The better his qualifying performance, the better his grid start and chances to score as many points as possible. This will come with time.
Alex Albon Red Bull 2020 Pit Lane Charges
Alex Albon Red Bull Performance Proven With Toro Rosso
Due to this being Albon’s first season in Formula 1, we don’t have a ton of history to measure how he response to pressure. All we have are his performances where he’s been force to battle back. As we’ve talked about, he’s done this succefully on a number of occasions already. But his two drives at SPA and Russia were diluted slightly by some due to him being in a Red Bull now. One of the common objections of a driver fighting through the field is:
It’s easier to fight through the pack when you are in a top car
Now I’m not arguing that having better technology in your hands has a high propensity to yield better results. But the other half of performance is the driver. If you are unable to use the equipment effectively, you will not be using your advantage. And occasions with a driver in a quicker car moves up 10-15 places, that’s more evident of driver than car alone.
How many seconds quicker is a Red Bull than a McLaren, really? How about a Renault? and a Racing Point?
Okay – now that you have those answers in your head, now imagine fight through the crowd. and passing TWO of each. while experiencing the same aerodynamic issues as normal. If anything, more dirty air, more tyre degredation due to overtaking and aggressive driving. Getting less blue flags. It’s not as simple as one could make it seem.
But luckily we have an example in the F1 News archives of a driver starting from the pits and still managing to score a point that wasn’t in a top car.
Ironically, it’s Alex Albon. The young Thai driver earned his first driver of the day award very early in his career at the Chinese Grand Prix. Still racing for Toro Rosso, he put his STR14 in the control line barrier after clipping the grass exiting a quick turn. The crash was scary to see. In just his third race, he was forced to forgo qualifying due to the major rebuild and start from the pit and find a way to get to through the midfield. Ultimately, he was able to secure P10 that Sunday in April as well as driver of the day honors.
Alex Albon Red Bull 2020 Stock Boosted By Dependable Rookie Results
We’ve established a few key pieces of this narrative that needed to be told. After thorough consideration, what has become abundantly clear is that Alex Albon has not driven like a rookie in 2019. He’s also risen to the challenge Red Bull asked him to from a points perspective. But now the real question emerges and we get to the analysis portion of this post:
Just how good of a job has Albon done in his rookie season for Red Bull thus far?
I decided to break down this analysis compared to Max Verstappen’s season where he was promoted mid-season from Toro Rosso in identical fashion. To provide an objective and fair comparison for your consideration as possible for Alex Albon Red Bull 2020 chance analysis, I will list out below all the key assumptions made in this breakdown.
The power and performance of the 2016 Red Bull package was different than the 2019 car. You could argue the 2016 Red Bull was very reliable considering Ricciardo improved on all but two races vs. his 2015 results. Also he was one of only two drivers classified in every single event that season. To simplify this considering, performance differences are considered negated and therefore excluded.
Max had 2 mechanical retirements which were factored in and noted appropriately.
Verstappen had 31 Formula 1 races under his belt for this comparison vs. Albon’s 12. Max also had the advantage of a full season replacing a driver who had just beaten his teammate the year prior. Albon is replacing a driver who was being severely beaten and facing a teammate on good form.
Alex Albon Red Bull 2020 Seat Verdict
While building the case and setting the story, I’ve done my best to remain objective and not reveal my position. But it would be hard to imagine someone out there who doesn’t think Albon deserves his seat for 2020. When you compare a driver to Verstappen, you have to bake in a certain level of overdelivery. Many believe Verstappen is a future multi-world champion. Teammate comparisons are made to understand performance of the driver as it relates to the resources available to them. Albon has proven given the resources he not only gets the points a third place car should, but if we use rookie seasons as a baseline at RedBull for future performance, Albon has performed better than Verstappen in his rookie season under more intense circumstances even when you remove all points while comparing DNFs. Again, the objective isn’t to say who is a better driver. But to gain perspective on what a rookie should be doing and evaluate the potential of Albon in that seat. Based on available data, it appears Albon has a bright future and handles the stress of Red Bull as well as the Milton Keynes-based team could have hoped. Alex Albon Red Bull 2020 chances as well as his career in Formula 1 look promising.
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