Stepping up a Red Bull race-seat in his debut campaign, Alexander Albon has a “great opportunity” to test his mettle in a race-winning car.
Red Bull announced at the beginning of the summer break that had changed their driver line up with immediate effect.
The under-fire Pierre Gasly, with just a third of Max Verstappen’s points, was demoted to Toro Rosso with Albon stepping up to the senior team.
The move is a big one for the Thai-British racer as he has just 12 races under his belt, even less experience than Verstappen had when he was handed a mid-season promotion.
Albon, though, intends making the most of this rare opportunity.
“Not many drivers get the chance to drive a car capable of winning a race so early in their F1 career, so it’s a great opportunity to be driving for Red Bull,” he said.
“It’s a big step, a big difference, and the factory’s a lot closer to my house, which is handy!
“We know what the car is capable of and we’ve seen what Max has been able to do this year.
“I want to see what it’s like compared to what I’m used to, but at the same time, I know this weekend is my first time in the car, I’m still learning and improving as a driver and there’s definitely more to come.
“I know one of the main differences will be the noise and attention that comes with the move but I’m keeping my feet on the ground.
“I’m just focusing on the job I have to do for Spa, I’ll be doing a lot of listening and observing.”
Albon recently spent time at the team’s Milton Keynes factory, undergoing a seat fitting while also spending time in the Red Bull simulator.
He added: “We’ve got as much simulator prep done as we can, so now it’s about going through procedural things with the team and getting to know everyone.
“This is a big step, but I feel I’ve been through these big jumps before and taken the opportunities – I’m not worried about that.
“I’m focused and ready to be as strong as possible for the second half of the year.”