Alexander Albon says instability throughout his career helped him avoid stressing about whether he would land a full-time drive at Red Bull for the 2020 Formula 1 season.

Ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Red Bull confirmed it had retained Albon alongside Max Verstappen to complete its 2020 line-up after an impressive run of form since his mid-season promotion.

The 23-year-old started his rookie F1 campaign at Toro Rosso but was called up to the Red Bull senior team to replace the underperforming Pierre Gasly in Belgium, before starting a run of top-six finishes that helped him seal a full-time seat at the Milton Keynes squad for next year.

Albon has faced uncertainty throughout his junior career, having been dropped from Red Bull’s young driver programme in 2012, while he started the 2018 Formula 2 season on a race-by-race deal.

A strong start saw him secure a full-time drive with DAMS as he went on to finish the year third in the standings behind fellow F1 rookies Lando Norris and champion George Russell.

“I think instability has made me not care about it in a weird way,” Albon said when asked if past uncertainty had helped him deal with the situation.

“I always feel that even if it doesn’t work out that I’m going to be okay. It sounds a bit strange but I never fear the failure side to it. I think it has helped definitely and I can carry that on with me throughout this year and onto next year.

“I didn’t know when the decision was going to be made,” he added.

“For me it was just thinking about the races, making sure I was happy with how I was progressing. I think that was the important thing, just trying to show that I am making steps forward.

“In terms of when I was going to get called,  I knew it was going to happen, but it wasn’t a stress - it was just ‘focus on the job in hand’.”

Albon was drafted in to Toro Rosso’s line-up to replace Brendon Hartley at the 11th hour having initially been signed to contest Formula E. The British-born Thai’s performances in the opening months of 2019 was enough to convince Red Bull, despite having never previously driven F1 machinery before the start of the calendar year.

“You are never going to feel completely settled until you drive a car for the first time,” he explained. “I don’t think that exists actually.

“It’s very natural but of course the more you feel comfortable with the team the more the lap time comes and it’s only normal when you first jump in the car to feel that way.

“Once you get to know the team and the car, that’s really where the performance comes from when you can really start to push the car and the team in the direction that you want to go. 

“It felt a lot more comfortable the second time in Spa. It’s a lot of thinking but once you step in the car and put your helmet on, it all goes away and you can focus on your driving.”

 

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