Toro Rosso Formula 1 chief Franz Tost is confident Alexander Albon is “mentally strong enough” to take on new Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen, citing some similarities between the pair ahead of their first race together.

Red Bull announced over the summer break it would be promoting Albon into a seat at its senior team just 12 races into his career, replacing Pierre Gasly, who moved in the opposite direction back to Toro Rosso.

Gasly struggled to compete with Verstappen through the opening half of the season, scoring just one-third of his points total to prompt Red Bull to make the change.

Asked about the challenge of being a teammate to Verstappen so early in Albon’s career, Tost said that while it was not easy, the Anglo-Thai racer had what it took to take him on.

“The fact is that Max has now a lot of experience in Formula 1. He is one of the fastest drivers, and he is also very measured now,” Tost said.

“He is fighting for victories, and I am convinced also next year for the world championship. It’s not easy against such a driver.

“But nevertheless, Alex is mentally strong enough to compete against Max, and the outcome and future will show.”

Tost worked with Verstappen at Toro Rosso through the early part of the Dutchman’s career, and said there were similarities to what he had seen from Albon through 2019.

“Max was more aggressive, especially fighting against other drivers, as maybe you remember. There were some good overtaking manoeuvres, also some crashes, but it’s part of the game,” Tost said.

“Max has a very, very high natural speed, as well as Alex. From the rest, from the technical side, they are quite similar.

“Both of them have a good understanding of how to set up the car, and both of them have a good understanding how to use the tyres in the best possible way, how to manage them.

“But of course Max is much more experienced, and this for sure will help him.”

 

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