Alex Albon may have spent 2021 on the sidelines of F1 but Jost Capito says even that was an opportunity for the new Williams signing to grow.
Albon has had a whirlwind time in his brief Formula 1 career.
Having thought his chances of making it onto the F1 grid were over, Albon signed to race in Formula E with Nissan for the 2019 season only for Red Bull to come knocking.
Handed a seat with their junior team, he was promoted to the senior squad after just 12 races.
A year-and-a-half later, he joined the list of drivers dropped by Red Bull, demoted to a test driver role for the 2021 season.
Albon spent the year conducting simulator work for Red Bull, playing a vital support role in Max Verstappen’s championship quest, while also helping to develop the 2022 Red Bull RB18.
He is back on the grid for the 2022 season, signed as Nicholas Latifi’s new Williams team-mate.
Capito is confident Albon’s year on the sidelines was actually good for the 25-year-old.
“Alex has developed very well in the 2021 season,” the Williams CEO told the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.
“He wasn’t just a reserve driver, he also spent a lot of time in the simulator. He followed Formula 1 racing from a different perspective.”
One month to lights out in Bahrain! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/z0cQbhuK2f
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) February 20, 2022
“I think Alex hasn’t reached his peak yet, he can show a lot more,” he added, “but now let’s see how he gets on with the car and how good the car is.
“When I see how he works in the simulator and with the engineers, he makes a happy impression on me.
“I also have a good connection built up to him. We speak very openly with each other and he feels at home here.”
Albon agrees, saying he “got a better overview of what it means to be a top driver” watching how Verstappen and the experienced Sergio Perez work.
“When you have a race weekend as a racing driver, you’re always energised, you’re in your tunnel, you only see the racetrack. And so your year goes by,” he added.
“I was involved a lot in the development of the car and gained a lot of experience. I can bring all of that to Williams.”
One aspect Albon struggled with during his time with Red Bull was setting up the car, the driver eventually sticking with Verstappen’s set-up.
He reckons last year it “gradually dawned on him” what needs to be done.
“For example,” he said, “I looked at why Checo has such good racing pace and how to get more performance out of the car.”
But having missed a year of racing, although he did contest a few DTM events, Albon says it will take time to “shake off the dust, so to speak.
“But in 2022 everyone will start from scratch. Nevertheless, I have to use the test days efficiently, especially for myself, so that I can start the season as well prepared as possible can.”
No team leader at Williams
Jost Capito claims that Williams do not want a number one driver.