Albon tests new helmet to boost Red Bull aero performance at Monza

Alex Albon made a late decision to test a different Arai helmet at the Italian Grand Prix, as part of a Red Bull experiment to see if it can help boost aero performance

Albon tests new helmet to boost Red Bull aero performance at Monza

The Thai driver has previously used Bell helmets in Formula 1, but on Friday at Monza he tested a mainly white Arai version for the opening day of action.

A fully painted version is due to arrive on Saturday after the change was decided on Wednesday due to radio issues, aero changes due to Albon's height, and contractual obligations for Red Bull to have an Arai driver.

Red Bull revealed earlier this year that its 2019 car's aero concept was based around an Arai helmet, and Friday's tests will have been to evaluate if the change has delivered more performance.

Speaking about the change, Albon said that was well as looking at airflow, the team hoped that it could improve radio communication as well.

"It was quite late decision," said Albon. "Hopefully we will have it [fully] painted for tomorrow. We just wanted to see if we can help improve the radio, as well as just obviously [performance]."

Albon said that the change had not felt much different to him, with teammate Max Verstappen having had to switch to Schuberth earlier this year because he was uncomfortable with Arai's 2019 model.

He added: "I am not Adrian [Newey] so I can't speak too much, but they were keen for me to try that. Every detail matters in F1.

"For me it doesn't change that much. All the helmets these days have such a small specification that they have to follow, they all feel quite similar once you put the helmet on."

Albon said he was not sure which helmet manufacturer he would continue with for the rest of the season.

Red Bull had an encouraging opening day of action at Monza and were closer to Mercedes and Ferrari than initially expected.

"We are there. We can chip away at that," said Albon.

"We will see what happens with everyone tomorrow. First feeling was pretty good. Balance wasn't too bad at all, so just chipping away on my side as well."

Verstappen, who will start the race from the back of the grid thanks to an engine change penalty, was positive about Red Bull's Friday practice efforts.

Asked if the potential in the car meant he could have some fun in moving up the order on Sunday, Verstappen said: "Yeah I think so, especially with the pace we showed today. The car was working really well.

"Also everything went very smoothly which is very positive. I'm looking forward to Sunday as tomorrow is going to be a little bit annoying of course not getting into qualifying like I want to, but that is how it is."

shares
comments
Alonso: 2021 overhaul "good opportunity" for possible F1 return

Previous article

Alonso: 2021 overhaul "good opportunity" for possible F1 return

Next article

Hamilton 'surprised' by Mercedes closeness to Ferrari at F1 Monza

Hamilton 'surprised' by Mercedes closeness to Ferrari at F1 Monza
Load comments
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021