Alex Albon says he is determined to rebound from being released by Red Bull and is channeling all of his energy towards reclaiming his place on the Formula 1 grid.
Red Bull opted to drop the British-Thai driver after the 2020 season, replacing him with Sergio Perez. Albon scored two podiums but finished seventh in the drivers’ championship – 20 points behind Perez and over 100 off teammate Max Verstappen – and will spend 2021 in a test and reserve role, in addition to racing in the DTM. But he says the simple fact he’s been retained by Red Bull even in a reserve capacity gives him a chance to regain his seat.
“I’ve been through this kind of situation many times in my racing career, so it hasn’t been all that bleak, let’s say,” Albon said. “There haven’t been any violins in the background! It’s more just been about getting back into it. I’m confident in myself, I know I can bounce back and that’s my target.
“Of course it’s disappointing. It’s always going to be disappointing, this is our dream so… (I recovered) very quickly to be honest, it was one of those things where there’s no point feeling sorry for yourself, you’ve got to get back into it and do as much as you can to get back.
“My goal, of course, is to be back in a seat for next year, and just be ready for this year as well – you need know what’s going to happen with fitness or with COVID around. So this winter has been kind of making sure I’m as ready as I can be, being as fit as I can, doing all the simulator stuff and even will hopefully get a few days where I can drive, do some tire tests and things like that.
“I have been dropped before, it’s not been the first time. But what I learned was, at the end of the day, how much do you want it? I would say I want it more than anyone on the grid, and with that comes a lot of determination, and I won’t stop at any point. So for me, it’s just about putting my head down. I got through it before; I’ve been able to get to where I am because of all the hard work I have done, and as I said, I want that seat back.”
However Albon acknowledges that the opportunity for a second chance might be out of his hands, depending on how the four race drivers at Red Bull and AlphaTauri perform this year, so he expects to know if he’ll need to look at leaving Red Bull by the summer.
“Firstly, the goal has to be with Red Bull,” he said. “There’s not just two, there’s four seats there, and my goal is really to wait and assess how it’s going. If everyone’s performing, then you would be… you’d know what the situation is.
“On my side, my duty is to focus on what’s going on right now, getting the best for the team, doing the best I can, improve myself within the factory and with the guys. Once we can do that, we’ll see what happens. By summer break, you’ll understand how things are playing out. Right now, until that point, the full effort is with Red Bull.”