Alex Albon says his mid-season promotion to Aston Martin Red Bull during his maiden year in F1 erased his feeling of being a rookie in the sport.
Albon’s motorsport career was turned on its head over twelve months ago when Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko unexpectedly lured the British-Thai racer away from a drive with Nissan in Formula E by offering him something much better: a race seat in F1 with Toro Rosso!
The 23-year-old’s performance was so impressive during the first half of his rookie year that Marko swapped Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly with Albon during F1’s summer break.
And Albon continued to sustain his momentum and add to his remarkable track record, earning himself a full season with the Milton Keynes-based outfit for 2020.
“I sometimes have to tell myself that I’m still a rookie because being in Red Bull the feeling kind of goes away a bit with the expectation and everything,” Albon said.
“On reflection I am happy with [my year]. I do notice the good moments but It’s just human nature and the way I am, I am hard on myself and I do want to improve all the time.
“I don’t want it to be an excuse that I’m a rookie. I just want to be quick on that weekend for being quick.
“It’s just part of me and part of my drive to just improve as a driver. I know there’s still scope for me to improve on.
“I realise that I’m still learning and for a first year I’m happy with how it’s gone.”
Albon’s achievements earned him a Rookie of the Year award at last Friday’s FIA prize-giving event and an equivalent accolade at Sunday evening’s Autosport Awards gala.
Beaming with joy, Albon summed up what has been a whirlwind past twelve months.
“I was happy with Formula E”, he said. “But I got into Toro Rosso, which was an amazing opportunity.
“Six months in, I felt really comfortable with the car and went into the summer break relaxed.
“I got a call from the guy [Helmut Marko], a 20-second conversation, to say I was in the big team [Red Bull] now.
“It’s worked out really well, still a lot to improve – I know that. But I’m enjoying it.”
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