Alexander Albon says Toro Rosso’s confidence is high heading into the 2019 season after the team encountered “no nasty surprises” with its latest Formula 1 car during testing. 

The British-Thai driver will make his grand prix debut at next weekend’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix, having graduated from Formula 2 to partner the returning Daniil Kvyat in Red Bull’s junior team for 2019. 

Albon had not turned a wheel in F1 machinery prior to Toro Rosso’s shakedown event in Misano, but he made up for his lack of seat time by recording 489 laps across his four days of running in Barcelona

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Asked about the strengths of the STR14, Albon replied: “Overall we're just happy with the car, there's no nasty surprises.

“The car is well balanced in low, medium and high-speed corners. The car's more or less consistent. There's no nasty surprises so the confidence is really good.

"There's not an area specifically we really need to target, but we need to fine-tune the car.”

Toro Rosso was able to conduct a strong winter programme and ended up fourth in the combined pre-season mileage charts, while Albon also managed the fourth-fastest time overall. 

"It's just been steady," Albon explained. 

"We hit the ground running pretty fast to be honest, I think we already had a good baseline coming into the first day of testing. Since that, we've just been trying things out and seeing what works for us.

“I think it was certainly better than I expected, but it’s still early days and we won’t know until Melbourne how it has been really going."

Albon described his first winter of preparing ahead of his rookie season as an F1 driver as “intense”. 

“There was a lot of preparation to do, you cannot believe how many books we’re given to read - just the steering wheel pages are huge - but there a lot of other things,” he said. 

“But it was nice to have that time to learn the car from the engineering point of view, so it was good to get that all done before actually getting into the car.

“You just have to be as prepared as possible and I knew what it would take, so it didn’t feel alien coming into Barcelona.” 

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