Williams team principal Jost Capito admits he did not realize how valuable Alex Albon’s year out from racing would prove to be at Red Bull.
Albon was dropped by Red Bull at the end of the 2020 season, with Sergio Perez replacing him and the British-Thai driver taking on a reserve role last year. After impressing Red Bull with his work ethic and development, Albon was moved to a Williams race seat for this season and Capito says the way that year out has benefited him has been clear in the first four races.
“Alex is settling in fantastically, I think it is the best that could have happened to the team,” Capito told RACER. “But what I was underestimating is what he gained through having a year outside the car.
“As he worked with Red Bull, he was at most of the races, and he’s seen how the interaction of the driver and team is, and then as he was in the team he’s seen how the drivers could impact the team and how the team reacted, which is something a driver normally doesn’t get. He’s seen then after the meetings, what has gone on in the team, and he benefited a lot from that.
“He’s a very smart guy so he learned a lot from this. I think it’s improved his capability of demanding something from the team and getting it done, because he knows how to approach the team, he has seen the different ways of drivers approaching the team and how they got supported. So he learned an awful lot.
“On the other hand he is very happy to be back in the car, because it’s his second chance. And very often the second chance is needed to really get to the full potential.”
With Albon replacing Mercedes-bound George Russell over the winter, Capito also admits he was unsure how that would impact the team, but says the former Williams driver actually helped his replacement settle in.
“Of course it is a concern with somebody like George leaving, it’s difficult to replace George, there is no doubt. But also George was very complimentary about Alex as they are personally good friends, so when Alex came in and when he signed, he got a lot of information from George as George wants him to do well. That also helps of course.”