ALBON – FRIDAY’S CRASH A SHAME
In his fight for job security Albon has edged closer, fallen away, and edged closer again in a turbulent year.
While the scrutiny over his future may seem unrelenting and unwarranted, he occupies a race-winning seat and Red Bull’s call for him to “justify” his position a few races ago has been met by a string of mistakes.
Crashing heavily in second practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix only continues that.
It’s obvious Red Bull sorely wants Albon to prove he should stay. He’s well thought of within the team. If it wanted to drop him, it would have done so by now.
Facing a much hinted at ‘deadline’ to convince Red Bull before Turkey, Albon made crucial errors in both races leading up to that cut-off and failed to score any points.
Alex Albon admits he could have avoided his huge crash during second practice for Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix had he backed off more when he ran wide at the final corner.
Albon, who has three races left to secure his seat at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen for 2021 amid a difficult season, lost control of his RB16 after running wide at Turn 14 before crashing heavily into the barriers.
A violent snap at high-speed as Albon ran wide onto the astroturf and lost grip caused him to shoot rearwards into the barriers on the exit of the corner and end his session prematurely.
“It was OK,” Albon said after the accident. “Obviously I’ve had a few of them so I’m used to it, but it was OK. It was just one of those things.
“I should have pulled out of it really. I was a bit surprised by the lack of grip lets say, but it was just one of those things. Quite a difficult, awkward angle, those crashes, so not fun, but I’m all good.
“I did back out but not enough basically. When you have one tyre on the astro and one tyre on the grip, that’s when the tank-slappers happen.”
Aside from his crash, Albon felt he was making more progress with the balance and handling of his RB16 as he continues to get to grips with the issues that have hampered his campaign.
“It was OK actually,” he explained. “I would say in FP1 the car was feeling pretty good straightaway, then in FP2 if anything, tried a couple of things that didn’t quite work out but more on the driving actually, just getting up to speed.
“The track grips up a lot and weirdly on the prototype tyres, they are not very fun to drive on. So we’ll see how it goes next year but just getting up to speed with it.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted that the crash was “frustrating” but said that most of the damage caused to Albon’s car was “superficial” and should not effect the rest of his weekend.
“Thankfully Alex is OK, that’s the main thing,” Horner told Sky. “There’s a lot of superficial damage. The monocoque looks OK, the engine looks OK, it’s not a race gearbox but it’s going to certainly keep the guys busy tonight.”
Horner added that Albon simply needs to put the crash “out of his mind” in order to bounce back from the early setback to what he believes is otherwise shaping up to be a positive weekend for the Thai racer.
“He’s just got to try and put it out of his mind because actually in Istanbul and so far this weekend, in terms of characteristics and his feeling from the car, it’s been getting better and better,” Horner said.
“His feedback has been very consistent of that of Max’s. It’s a great shame that he’s had that accident. He didn’t get a first lap in on the Medium tyres so he’s on the back foot and that accident obviously doesn’t help. But hopefully tomorrow is another day.”
ALBON – FRIDAY’S CRASH A SHAME ALBON – FRIDAY’S CRASH A SHAME
2020 F1 BAHRAIN GP: FRIDAY PRACTICE 1-2 – HAMILTON TOPS
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