Albon: Red Bull reserve role more important than DTM for F1 return

Alex Albon believes his test and reserve driver duties with Red Bull will play a bigger role in securing a potential Formula 1 return than anything he does in DTM.

Albon: Red Bull reserve role more important than DTM for F1 return

Albon was dropped by the senior Red Bull outfit over the winter for failing to consistently match team-mate Max Verstappen in 2020, with ex-Racing Point driver Sergio Perez hired as his replacement.

Unlike his predecessors Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly, who were placed at the then-Toro Rosso team following their demotions from Red Bull Racing, Albon hasn’t yet been given a second opportunity in F1 at what is now AlphaTauri.

Instead, the Thai driver will contest selected rounds of the new-look DTM series in an AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GT3 in 2021 while remaining in F1 as a reserve/test driver for both the Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams.

The 25-year-old got his first proper taste of a GT3 car earlier this month at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, before getting more running under his belt in the official pre-season test at Hockenheim this week.

While success in DTM would boost his profile, Albon insists the primary objective of his programme is to stay race-fit, and he doesn’t see the series as a means to return to grand prix racing.

PLUS: How Albon plans to fight his way out of Red Bull limbo

Asked by Autosport how he can utilise his DTM race outings to earn an F1 comeback in 2022, Albon said: “To be honest not so much. 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].”

Alex Albon, AF Corse, Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Alex Albon, AF Corse, Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo

Photo by: DTM

Albon will be one of the three former grand prix drivers on the 2021 DTM grid alongside Timo Glock (Rowe Racing BMW) and ex-Red Bull driver Christian Klien, the latter in a part-season campaign in a McLaren with JP Motorsport.

Asked if he saw sportscar racing as a viable long-term option, Albon said: “Seriously [speaking], not really. I mean it’s good for now. 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 explained that he had to readjust his braking points for GT3 machinery, admitting that his past F1 experience meant he has been overdriving the Ferrari.

“GT racing in general is different,” the 25-year-old said. “Eau Rogue is definitely not as flat as I thought it would be. But it’s a learning curve. 

“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.”

shares
comments
Norris: McLaren "not miles away" from F1 rivals Mercedes, Red Bull

Previous article

Norris: McLaren "not miles away" from F1 rivals Mercedes, Red Bull

Next article

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture
Load comments
The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive Plus

The number-crunching behind the new-look DTM's equalisation drive

Switching to GT3 regulations marked a fresh start for the DTM in 2021, but it has also drawn a line in the sand against other series using similar cars by engaging AVL Racing to develop a bespoke Balance of Performance system. Here’s how it works

DTM
Jul 23, 2021
The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars Plus

The initial verdict on DTM's move to GT3 cars

OPINION: Facing collapse last year, the DTM has shifted its philosophy from a championship for silhouette-based touring cars to GT machines not too dissimilar to those racing across multiple series worldwide. But despite some initial BoP-based teething troubles, there were some pleasant findings as the 'new DTM' got underway at Monza

DTM
Jun 22, 2021
Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM Plus

Why Albon has his work cut out in the new-look DTM

The DTM moves into its bold new GT3 era with welcome support from Red Bull, which enters two AF Corse-run Ferraris. That includes one for ex-F1 driver Alex Albon, who’s determined to make a success of his GT switch - but he knows it won't be easy...

DTM
Jun 17, 2021
The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king Plus

The slow-burner threatening to unseat Audi's DTM king

It's taken him a while to emerge as a consistent title challenger, but in the final year of DTM's Class One rule set, Nico Muller has smoothed the rough edges and has double champion stablemate Rene Rast working harder than ever to keep up in the title race

DTM
Oct 13, 2020
How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror Plus

How a DTM failure became an unlikely Nurburgring conqueror

Opel's fortunes in the DTM had taken a turn for the worst by 2003 - hardly the pedigree that suggested it could take on the toughest 24-hour race of them all. But that's exactly what it did

DTM
Sep 23, 2020
The season that revitalised a sleeping giant Plus

The season that revitalised a sleeping giant

On the 20th anniversary of the resumption of hostilities in the DTM, Autosport revisits a classic season that brought a staple of German motorsport back to life with a bang and set in motion the careers of some notable names

DTM
May 28, 2020
Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis? Plus

Does 2000 hold the answers to DTM's current crisis?

It's 20 years since the DTM roared back into life at a packed Hockenheim with a back-to-basics approach as the antidote to its high-tech past. Now it's on its knees again, so is it time to recall the lessons learned in 2000?

DTM
May 28, 2020
The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions Plus

The last-chance saloon of Germany's forgotten tin-top champions

The Opel Vectra GTS was the last in the line of the marque's DTM challengers, but failed to hit the lofty heights of its predecessors when financial constraints hit

DTM
May 15, 2020