Alex Albon has ‘scores to settle’ with F1 – but motivation is unchanged

Jon Wilde
Alex Albon's Williams just ahead of Kevin Magnussen's Haas. Melbourne April 2022.

Alex Albon's Williams just ahead of Kevin Magnussen's Haas during the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne April 2022.

Alex Albon insists his motivation to succeed has been unaffected by the change in competitiveness he has experienced with his switch from Red Bull to Williams.

Two years ago, Albon was in the midst of the only full season with a single team he has completed in F1, that being at Red Bull following his promotion from Toro Rosso halfway through the previous campaign.

In an RB16 car with which Max Verstappen was challenging for regular podium finishes and the occasional win, Albon claimed a best position of third in the Tuscan and Bahrain Grands Prix – but those and other results did not prove enough to keep his seat for the following year.

After a season as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver, with Sergio Perez replacing him alongside Verstappen, Albon was called up by Williams to step into Mercedes-bound George Russell’s place for 2022.

Now, of course, with Williams having been among the backmarkers in recent seasons, Albon finds himself regularly at the opposite end of the pack from where he was in 2020 – but that has no impact on his determination to achieve the best possible result.

Asked during an interview with Auto Motor und Sport how it feels to not currently have a chance of finishing in the top positions, Albon replied: “It has no influence on my motivation. I’m determined to prove to people what I’m capable of.

“I still have a few scores to settle with Formula 1. Of course, the perspective is a bit different. Points are like victories for us. But you soon understand that.

“I still have a lot of fun. We can see the progress. It would be more difficult if we didn’t develop further.”

Read more: Williams’ first half of the season reviewed – is it time to say goodbye to Nicholas Latifi?

Williams' Alex Albon at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.
Williams' Alex Albon at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Budapest, July 2022.

How big a change has Alex Albon experienced from Red Bull to Williams?

Essentially, in terms of competitiveness, it does not get much bigger in Formula 1.

Albon could even count himself a touch unlucky not to have become an F1 race winner at Red Bull. He had a sniff of victory in the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix until a tangle with Lewis Hamilton for which the Mercedes driver was penalised, while in the same year’s Turkish GP another potential opportunity went begging.

Now, he is at the team which, barring a huge improvement in the second half of the season, will finish bottom of the Constructors’ Championship.

Their only three points scored came courtesy of fine drives from Albon in Australia and Miami.

Asked how difficult the transition had been, the 26-year-old said: “Of course Red Bull have financial advantages, which still have an effect even with the budget cap.

“But in terms of structure and working methods, both teams are very similar. The dynamic also always depends on the personalities of the staff.”

Having just signed a new multi-year contract with Williams, Albon clearly has faith that better times are just around the corner.