Alex Albon can see where Christian Horner is coming from by once saying he was almost “too nice” to race for Red Bull, Albon suggesting that was a symptom of youth.
Albon’s rise was a meteoric one in the Red Bull ranks, as just half a season after his recall to the programme to join Toro Rosso for 2019, he was sent to the main Red Bull team to partner Max Verstappen following the struggles of Pierre Gasly.
By the end of the 2020 campaign Albon though found himself dropped from the second Red Bull seat after similar difficulties against Verstappen, spending 2021 as Red Bull’s reserve driver before joining Williams for the following season, where he has now established himself as one of the hottest prospects on the grid.
Alex Albon felt Red Bull call came too early
Speaking to Sky F1, their pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz told Albon that when news came through of his Red Bull promotion back in 2019, he had his doubts over whether it was the right move at the time.
Albon said he had similar thoughts going through his mind, but could not turn down such an opportunity.
“I can tell you I had a similar reaction,” Albon confirmed. “I had to take the opportunity, even if you don’t feel ready or not.
“I guess maybe there’s a bit of naivety to it. But there’s also you could be stuck as a driver who had one chance, could have gone up and then chose not to. And who’s to say that you would have been offered a chance later on.”
Kravitz then mentioned that when Red Bull made the decision to replace Albon with Sergio Perez from 2021, the Red Bull boss Horner spoke of how Albon being “too nice” actually worked against him.
Asked if he knows what Horner meant by that, Albon replied: “Yeah, I do.
“I think it’s more about I was in a position where I felt like I needed to say yes to everything, because I didn’t want to give up my chance, or be seen as someone I’m not.
“And in a way, like you’re just young, you want to get on with the people around you. You want to be in everyone’s good books and you want to make sure that you’re liked in the team and that’s just being young and kind of discovering the team, trying to fit in with the team.”
Ted Kravitz delivers message to Alex Albon
Kravitz had been in Thailand for his chat with Albon, where his fantastic charity work with the Wat Sakraeo Orphanage was also highlighted.
Albon made a recent visit to open a new sports hall named in his honour, after the Williams driver auctioned his Thai elephant-design crash helmet to raise funds for the orphanage.
Kravitz then told Albon that Horner was “half right” with his “nice” comment, but meant in the very best of ways.
“You know what, I think Christian was half right,” Kravitz told Albon. “You are nice, but not in a bad way, actually in the best way.
“And it has nothing to do with your undoubted abilities as a racing driver and everything to do with the measure of the man that you are and that you’re becoming. So don’t give up. I think you’re on the right track.”
Albon has scored all 21 of Williams’ points so far in F1 2023, the driver in recent months having been linked with a future return to Red Bull or a Ferrari switch.