Alexander Albon believes it will be his work in the simulator with Red Bull Racing that will aid him in getting back into Formula 1 in 2022 rather than what he does racing in the DTM Series this year.
The Anglo-Thai driver lost his seat in Formula 1 at the end of 2020 as Red Bull opted to replace him with Sergio Pérez, although the team opted to keep him on the books as their official reserve driver for the current season.
Albon has also received Red Bull backing as he will compete a partial campaign in the DTM Series driving an AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3. He will share the drive with New Zealander Nick Cassidy.
However, he believes his performances in DTM will mean very little to Red Bull if he does not do enough in the simulator as the team’s reserve driver.
“To be honest not so much,” said Albon to Motorsport.com when asked if racing in DTM was important for him to get back into Formula 1. “On my role, it’s more about doing my job the best I can in the championship itself.
“A lot of the Formula 1 stuff is probably a little more down to how other drivers are performing and whether there are opportunities on that side of things. But yes, there’s not so much requirement here.
“A lot of it is down to how it works with BoP [in the DTM]. As long as I do my job on my side….Of course, my role also in the reserve driver, simulator duties and testing, that is a much bigger role [in getting back to F1].”
Albon says that switching his career focus to GT3 racing isn’t the current plan, with all eyes on regaining his place on the Formula 1 grid. However, should Formula 1 not be possible, he will definitely think about racing in sportscars.
“I mean it’s good for now,” said Albon. “It keeps me sharp, it keeps me racing fit, if you can call it. But I still want to [be in F1].
“If F1 would not work out then some kind of…we’ll see. It’s definitely not something I would say 100% no to.”
Albon participated in the recent DTM Series test at the Hockenheimring, and he admits it needed some adaptation on his side when it came to the driving style.
“GT racing in general is different,” said Albon. “I do enjoy it, it’s a different challenge and a completely different driving style. To begin with, a lot of it was just overdriving because you kind of have this muscle memory of how to do some corners and how to drive, and it’s almost like restarting that process.
“But at the end of the day it’s a car. It has a steering wheel, it has pedals and you can adapt to it pretty quickly. It feels okay. Of course there’s still time on the table on how to drive it. But no, I’m enjoying it.”