“Disappointing.” Red Bull team boss Christian Horner needs only one word to rate starting position 12 for Red Bulls number two Alex Albon (25). Everything should be better in Silverstone (Formula 1, Great Britain Grand Prix, Sun., from 3.10 p.m. in LIVETICKER). A new racing engineer was to give wings to the Thai: Simon Rennie, the ex-whisperer from Daniel Ricciardo and Mark Webber.
It was the last chance for Albon at Red Bull. “When I gave my driver a new race engineer, I wanted to help him,” ex-team boss Eddie Jordan told SPORT1. “But I also wanted to make it very clear to him: Now you have to deliver!”
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Albon didn’t deliver. So far anyway. The pace was right on Friday, then he fell victim to the unpredictable Red Bull and crashed brutally. On Saturday the flickering self-confidence seemed to be on the ground again. With the result: He was eliminated in the second qualifying section, while “over-teammate” Max Verstappen was once again the only Mercedes hunter and finished third.
Albon tries to encourage himself
Albon looked depressed, but wanted to (still) encourage himself. “I would not say that the weekend was terrible,” he said in a low voice, “only today it was not very good. We lost time on the track due to the defect in Q3 and the wind turns here all the time, and the balance also changes with it. “
Alone: Team principal Horner is still jumping to the side of his number two pilot. The exchange of batteries in the morning had prevented good preparation, the Brit almost morbidly collects further arguments for Albon remaining in the top team. What Horner deliberately did not mention: it was Albon’s accident that made it necessary to replace the battery. (DATA CENTER: The Formula 1 driver classification)
The Thai, it looks at the moment, is moving in a vicious circle from which it is very difficult to get out.
This downward spiral is reminiscent of the steep descent that Pierre Gasly experienced alongside Max Verstappen last year. There were crashes, bad lap times, more and more pressure and less self-confidence – with the result that the Frenchman was demoted to the sister team of Alpha Tauri and Albon got his place. The climb that the Red Bull makers had trusted Albon a year ago is now proving to be too steep.
Vettel to Red Bull not off the table yet
One thing is certain: Sebastian Vettel (33) will take a close look at the further development at Red Bull. The still Ferrari star has the opportunity to switch to Aston Martin. His preferred team, however, is Red Bull. The only thing that protects Albon from degradation there is his Thai passport. The half-Brit enjoys the blessing from above. 51 percent of Red Bull belong to a Thai family. Albon still wants to see them in the main car.
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But: If Albon does not perform in the long term, his origin will no longer protect him. Alpha Tauri team boss Franz Tost gives a first hint that the Vettel personnel is still not checked internally. The Austrian, an avowed fan of German, says: “Driver decisions are made by others at Red Bull. Mostly in September or October. Let’s wait and see.” (Formula 1 racing calendar 2020)
His team could also play a crucial role in the driver change game. If the racing point, the pink Mercedes copy, is declared legal despite the Renault protest, Red Bull only wants to build one chassis – for Red Bull and Alpha Tauri. Then it almost doesn’t matter where Vettel drives and where Albon drives. Both would have the same prerequisites within the Red Bull family.
Many defects at Vettel
The following observation also shows that Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko still has a special eye for Sebastian Vettel. To SPORT1 says the Austrian: “It is a mystery to us where Leclerc (fourth place) got the speed. He was faster on the straights than us. However, this only seems to have been the case with him, not with Vettel.”
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Heppenheimer was almost a second slower than team-mate Leclerc in tenth place. But the more important thing is: Even though Vettel’s Ferrari has had the defect devil since Friday and he had no chance of driving on the same level as team-mate Leclerc, he is still calm.
Also because of his strong nerves, he made it into the last qualifying section with the battered Ferrari. And strong nerves are exactly what Red Bull wants to see at the end of the day.