Ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Alexander Albon has revealed that he and his Scuderia Toro Rosso team has altered the way the Thai driver attacks the race track on Fridays, in a bid for him to find the limits sooner.
Albon has secured two points finishes in the opening three races of his rookie season but openly admits he still struggles to get up to speed quickly during Friday practice, so the decision was made to change the way he and Toro Rosso approach the opening track day of a Grand Prix weekend in a bid to quicken this process up.
“I still say I struggle a little bit in FP1s and FP2s, to get up to speed a little bit quicker,” Albon is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “So we have changed the run plan on my side a little bit to make it easier for me to get up to speed.
“It is just making the car a bit more predictable earlier on Fridays, and then I can be more aggressive with set-up through the weekend. It’s for me to get more confidence early in the run. It is more having the car, a little bit let’s say, more focused on stability rather than anything else. So I can build into it with the track.
“Melbourne and China were new to me so you want a car that you can feel – so you can spend more time learning the track than learning the car.”
Albon said it was a joint decision by both himself and the team for this decision and it should ultimately help him adapt to driving Formula 1 cars on circuits he has limited or no experience on, with small mistakes often compromising the early stages of the weekend due to a loss of confidence.
“It was ultimately both of us,” said the Thai driver. “Let’s say on Fridays if the car is a bit nervous, it is not as comfortable for me to learn the circuit, most probably due to experience more than anything.
“I don’t know the tracks, so when I start pushing straight away and make these small mistakes and have these small snaps of oversteer, then it takes me a bit longer to get comfortable with the car.
“It was a joint decision. Toro Rosso has that experience and they know what us rookies need to get confidence in the cars.”