Franz Tost says it was apparent early on during pre-season testing in 2019 that Alexander Albon had a lot of potential, a long time before Aston Martin Red Bull Racing came knocking.
Albon joined Scuderia Toro Rosso, now name Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda, ahead of the 2019 season and despite a spin early on, he impressed his new team and went on to score points in just his second start in Bahrain.
Tost, the Team Principal of AlphaTauri, says it was apparent early on that Albon possessed the talent to be a star in Formula 1, so it was no surprise when Red Bull called him up to replace Pierre Gasly after the summer break.
“When he started testing it was his first time in a Formula 1 car and he did a really good test in Barcelona, where he showed his potential,” said Tost to Racer. “I said in Barcelona that he could become the surprise of the year of the young drivers, and Alex performed fantastically from the very beginning onwards.
“He came to Australia, which is not an easy race, and didn’t score points, but in the second race in Bahrain he finished in ninth position, scored two points and this showed his potential. Furthermore, Red Bull observed him and then they decided to swap the drivers.”
Tost Gave Albon Feedback to Red Bull
Tost says he had been in communication with both Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko and Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner throughout the year and he has been given the same kind of feedback as had been said in the media.
“We are always talking together – Helmut (Marko), Christian (Horner) and myself – discussing different drivers,” said Tost. “I said from the beginning onwards during the testing in Barcelona that he really shows a good performance.”
Tost says it is important Red Bull give Albon the time to truly understand Formula 1, feeling that it takes a handful of years to get to grips with the premier single seater category. He feels this needs to happen despite having such a talented driver as Max Verstappen as his team-mate.
“He’s in his second season, and I always say that it takes three seasons minimum until a driver understands Formula 1,” said Tost. “If you then have a driver alongside you like Max Verstappen, it’s on one hand very positive, because you can see where you gain time and where you lose time.
“But on the other hand, if he’s so fast it could be quite frustrating sometimes if you cannot match him. Alex should just concentrate on himself, he should learn, and then he will do it his way.”