Alexander Albon says he will keep his “feet on the ground” during his Red Bull Formula 1 race debut at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The British-Thai driver has been promoted to the Red Bull senior team in place of the underperforming Pierre Gasly, who has dropped back to Toro Rosso alongside Daniil Kvyat for the remainder of the 2019 season as the Milton Keynes squad evaluates its driver options for 2020.

Albon recorded 16 points for Toro Rosso - including a best result of sixth at the German Grand Prix - during the opening 12 races of his F1 career and has impressed Red Bull enough to prompt the team into making a mid-season driver swap.

“Not many drivers get the chance to drive a car capable of winning a race so early in their F1 career, so it’s a great opportunity to be driving for Red Bull,” Albon said.

“It’s a big step, a big difference, and the factory’s a lot closer to my house which is handy! We know what the car is capable of and we’ve seen what Max has been able to do this year.

“I want to see what it’s like compared to what I’m used to, but at the same time, I know this weekend is my first time in the car, I’m still learning and improving as a driver and there’s definitely more to come.

“I know one of the main differences will be the noise and attention that comes with the move but I’m keeping my feet on the ground. I’m just focusing on the job I have to do for Spa, I’ll be doing a lot of listening and observing.”

Albon’s Red Bull bow will come at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, a venue he has never won at in the past. While he acknowledges the scale of the challenge he faces, Albon insists he is not fazed.

“The track is cool and I think it’s one that everyone loves,” he explained. “It’s definitely a drivers track, it’s quick and there aren’t many run-off areas.

“It kind of goes back to that old school driving feeling where you really feel like you’re on the limit and you know if you make a mistake, you’re in the wall. That’s something that drivers crave.

“Spa hasn’t necessarily been that successful of a track for me, but we got podiums there in Formula 2 last year so it’s still been good. Also, you never know what’s going to happen there with the weather.

“We’ve got as much simulator prep done as we can, so now it’s about going through procedural things with the team and getting to know everyone. It should be good!

“This is a big step, but I feel I’ve been through these big jumps before and taken the opportunities - I’m not worried about that. I’m focused and ready to be as strong as possible for the second half of the year.”



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