F1 break gave Albon “global view” of what it takes to be top driver

Alex Albon believes that he will be a better driver on his return to Formula 1 with Williams in 2022 after taking a year out last season.

F1 break gave Albon “global view” of what it takes to be top driver

After being dropped by Red Bull, Albon spent last season racing in the DTM while also working on the Milton Keynes team's 2021 and 2022 F1 cars in its simulator.

He says the opportunity to take a step back while also assisting Max Verstappen’s successful title campaign has given him a “global view” of what it takes to succeed and puts him in a stronger position as he returns to the grid.

On Tuesday, Albon had his first taste of the new Williams FW44 in a shakedown run at a wet Silverstone.

“I feel like having that year out, I have had a bit more of a global view of what it takes to be to be a top tier driver, in the sense that I had the full picture of it,” he said.

“Sometimes when you're in the race weekend, when you're flat out, kind of in that zone, you only see the racetrack, and that's kind of your year.

“Last year, it was a very different role for me, it was a lot about developing the car, about seeing how the team operates, in fulfilling my development role as best as I could.

PLUS: The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

“And I feel like there's a lot of experience there, learning the ways in which an F1 team operates.

“I definitely can use that and bring that to Williams. And at the same time there's things which I've spent during last year reflecting and thinking, how can I do a better job?

“And that's not just one thing. That's a lot of little things, which obviously, I'm working on for this year. I still need to drive the car to work on them."

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Alex Albon, Williams FW44

Photo by: Williams

Albon worked on the 2022 RB18 project even after he signed for Williams. However, while he experienced the new car in the simulator, he says he had no knowledge of what it might actually look like that could have benefitted his new team.

“I know, more or less what the car feels like,” he said.

“But it's hard always to compare, because the simulators themselves are different, the way that they operate, the way that they feel in terms of motion is so different.

“You can obviously get a feeling for things. But to really act on them, it takes a bit of time, it takes a bit of experience.

"Of course, I'm going to use everything that I know. At the same time, and I'm not an aerodynamicist, I don't know what the rear wing looks like on the RB18 or anything like that. I just know the feeling of it.

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“The simulator is quite simple. You've got two wheels on the front of it, and you're inside of a monocoque. So yeah, it is hard in that sense.

“But I think what I will bring to Williams is just the way that they work and the way that they go about their business, more than anything else.

“And of course, on top of that cars have characteristics they carry even if the rules change as much as they do from last year to this year.

Red Bull launched a show car earlier this month, electing to keep its power dry until the first test

Red Bull launched a show car earlier this month, electing to keep its power dry until the first test

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

“They always tend to keep their slight subtleties within the cars, it's quite a normal thing to happen.

“I think I have a good feeling of why the Red Bull car was fast, and I know how they exploited their lap time out of the car.

“And I know at the same time why the Williams was quick in some places, and I can see how these things sort themselves out.

“It's just kind of that balance of trying to use that knowledge that I do have to try and make us more competitive."

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