(Motorsport-Total.com) – At the moment, Red Bull has other concerns than occupying the second cockpit. Since he was informed in August that engine manufacturer Honda would exit Formula 1 at the end of 2021, Helmut Marko has been thinking about alternative scenarios that he can then present to Dietrich Mateschitz for a decision. In light of this, the subject of Alexander Albon is currently the least of his worries.
But the fact is that the 24-year-old Thai remains a weak point at Red Bull. At least soberly evaluated by numbers: In the qualifying duel against Max Verstappen it is 0:10, and on points 64: 128. So Albon got exactly 50 percent of the points of his teammate, who was two years younger than him. Too little for an absolute top team in Formula 1.
Most recently, team boss Christian Horner announced publicly for the first time that it was his job to maintain contact with other possible drivers. Sergio Perez, for example, or Nico Hülkenberg. However, Albon still has priority in Red Bull’s considerations for awarding the second cockpit in 2021.
Helmut Marko now also says in an interview with ‘LAOLA1’: “If Alex Albon does his job, he stays. If not, there will be considerations. We would then see which drivers who are good are on the market. But that’s not up for debate at the moment. “
Does Verstappen really want a veteran?
According to reports, Verstappen would like an experienced teammate like Perez or Hülkenberg, who could possibly contribute more to the overall development of the team than the inexperienced Albon. Even if the 22-year-old denies that himself.
It is true, he replies to a corresponding question from ‘Motorsport-Total.com’, that “I myself have a much better understanding of the car today than in my first year. Of course, I understand Formula 1 a little better . ” But: “Alex and I work well together. We’re moving in the same direction.”
“Yes, it is probably the case that a driver with ten years of Formula 1 experience knows more. That is completely normal,” admits Verstappen. “But I think the team is happy with Alex’s feedback.” Especially since it is less complex than many imagine: “Understeer, oversteer, that’s easy to explain. And when new parts come, we both want the same thing.”
Even so, Albon’s place is not set in stone. Red Bull is doing everything possible to support him – even reactivated Simon Rennie as a race engineer to help the Thai. Since then there has been a first ray of hope with the podium in Mugello, but another setback immediately afterwards with the race in Sochi.
Driver decision could be made after the end of the season
The decision will be “definitely before Christmas”, announces Horner: “We have all drivers under contract for several years. There are different deadlines in their contracts. But it won’t happen until later in autumn at the earliest. Our plan is with Alex He just has to build on such performances as in Mugello and keep going. “
The critics who constantly hack Albon “don’t have all the facts,” Horner defends his second driver: “I think Alex is doing a good job in a very difficult year. The car is currently much more difficult to drive than the 2019 one. Car. When he came to us a year ago, he was better than Pierre in the same car from the start. “
“His races on Sunday are usually very strong. Where he still has problems is qualifying. And of course it doesn’t have it easy because Max always manages to get the best out of the car. The team-mates from Schumacher or Senna used to didn’t look good. And I think we have a situation like that next to Max now. “
Meanwhile, Albon is concentrating on what he can influence and is working on his driving style in the simulator in order to get a grip on the stubborn RB16: “There is no particular weak point,” he analyzes. “I just have to do it to turn a few things around and I’m slowly getting better at that.”
“Of course I would like everything to go faster. Preferably immediately,” sighs Albon. “But things like that don’t just happen overnight. It takes a while to work on things like this. I’m sure that sooner or later I will manage it.”