The FIA Formula 1 2020 World Championship kicks off this weekend and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Alexander Albon is looking forward to getting the season underway in Austria.
F1 has been clouded by uncertainty since the beginning of the year generated by the coronavirus pandemic and only now is the season starting to take shape.
Albon enters his first full season with Red Bull and – like every driver on the grid – has been left tediously waiting for the green light from the relevant parties to commence the launch of F1 in 2020.
Despite the prolonged break, Albon insists that both he and the team are delighted to get the chance to finally hit the ground running in Spielberg.
“I feel good. There’s so much time that, with any driver, there’s going to be that level of uncertainty as to what’s going to happen.
“I’m glad I did the filming day to get that initial dust off my shoulders but I’m excited, I think we’ve all been waiting for this“, said Albon.
“There’s been a long drought, we all do this because we love it and we’ve missed it, so I can’t wait to get started.“
Three months on from the sudden cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, the Red Bull Ring will initiate a bumper European leg of the season that will see eight races tightly-packed into a six-week period.
Unsurprisingly, this is set to be one of the most gruelling openings to a season that the teams have ever had to deal with and Albon believes getting off to a strong start will be key.
“We are going from one of the quietest periods of time, to one of the busiest we will have ever experienced. It’s going to be crazy for all of us.
“Racing week after week for however long is going to be tough for everyone in the team, and it’s going to be important to start the first few races strong.
“We didn’t run in Australia so everyone is going to be learning and I think the teams that really get into the racing rhythm first will be the best and the ones to beat.
“It’s important to go into the first race with as much energy as you can – it will be about maintain your energy and keeping it as high as you can for as long as you can”, he concluded.
“There’s no change in our job”
Although the complete 2020 calendar is yet to be finalised as the FIA and Liberty Media work to monitor the ever-changing situation across various countries around the world, it remains business as usual as far as Albon is concerned.
“Just because there’s an unknown kind of feeling of even how many races we’re going to do, what circuits we’re going to go to, there’s no change in our job and that’s really just to maximise every weekend – that’s all there is to it.”
Another additional challenge for the drivers and teams will be presented by having two races take place in Austria across successive weekends.
However, Albon is confident that Red Bull’s track record will stand them in good stead to deal effectively with the different challenges presented.
“Being back to back to back, we will have less time to prepare, unlike a normal weekend where we do some simulator, and of course there will be tracks which we’ve never been to, but I think that’s a good opportunity.
“I think the good teams will be quite flexible, the same with the drivers, being on top of it and understanding the car and the tracks as quick as possible, and I think that’s an area where as a team I believe we will be pretty successful“, the Thai driver confessed.
“Just looking historically at how Red Bull are good at interpreting and getting up to speed quickly. It should be good!”
Winter testing now “inconclusive”
In spite of winter testing all the way back in February being the only time to date that the 2020 cars have run out on a race circuit, Albon is of the mindset that the break has made the pecking order difficult to predict.
“Barcelona already from winter testing is quite inconclusive.
“You don’t know where the teams are, but everyone has a fairly good understanding of where everyone is at, adding another four months on top of that, it really jumbles up everything”, Albon stated.