Christian Horner has admitted driving this year’s Red Bull is “not all making sense” to Alex Albon at present – but insists he retains the team’s faith.
After a promising last three months of 2019 when he was promoted to become Max Verstappen’s team-mate at Pierre Gasly’s expense, Albon has struggled to continue his upward curve this season.
The London-born Thai driver has been short of Verstappen’s pace in practice and qualifying, leaving him lower down the grid than ideal and having to produce a series of ‘recovery drives’ in the RB20 in order to maximise his points-scoring potential.
Albon sits sixth in the Drivers’ World Championship standings, with racing incidents involving Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen this term also having hindered his progress.
But his team boss Horner has been a consistent defender of the 24-year-old, for whom Red Bull are working hard to try to make his life easier in what is not the easiest car to drive.
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“[We’re] in the simulator, looking at the characteristics, the style of driving between the two cars, [asking] why is Max able to extract more out of the car,” said Horner, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“We bolstered his engineering side of the garage and there’s a lot of belief in Alex. As he demonstrated at Silverstone [finished P5], he has the ability to be a very quick racing driver.
“It’s not all making sense to him at the moment. We’ve got to try and help him through that.
“The car is difficult to drive at the moment, but with time and some improvements on our side we’ll manage to help him through it.”
One of the ‘recovery drives’ Albon has had to come up with was in the latest race, the Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona, where he was among the first drivers to stop for fresh tyres and had to work his way back up through the field on the hard compound.
Horner denied the team had got the strategy wrong, saying: “The problem was that Alex didn’t have a good balance in the car.
“When the balance isn’t quite there on all three compounds of tyres, [it meant] he just went through them incredibly quickly.
“Running in dirty air for such a large percentage of the race, we just ate the tyres. We didn’t have any longevity to our stints, whether it was on the hard, the soft, the medium, so that then compounds itself. It was very frustrating for him.”
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