Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says struggling Alex Albon will be a podium contender once he finds consistency and confidence.
The British-Thai driver has struggled in qualifying on a Saturday throughout 2020.
He was eliminated in Q2 at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and finished FP2 ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix down in P13, 1.6s off the pace.
But, there are no question marks surrounding his race pace, and he backed that up with another solid recovery drive at Silverstone to finish the 70th Anniversary GP in P5.
So now his job is to give himself less to do on a race day, and once he finds that confidence and consistency over one lap Horner expects Albon to transform into a podium contender.
“It’s his Saturdays that he needs to work on,” Horner told Sky F1.
“Sunday afternoons he is great. He’s overtaking, his pace is everything that you could expect.
“His recovery at Silverstone was phenomenal, some of the passing moves, the corners he was going around the outside of, hold your breath!
“So it’s just about getting him more comfortable in the car over a single lap. The car is tricky to drive at the moment.
“Max manages to drive round those problems, but hopefully we can do more to help Alex, and as soon as he finds that consistency and confidence and starts qualifying in position, then I think with the race pace he’s had he will be knocking on the door of the podium before long.”
P9 on the grid to P5 at the finish for @alex_albon
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 10, 2020
The FIA’s plan to ban teams from using ‘qualifying modes’ could come in handy for Albon as he looks to fine tune his one-lap pace against the other drivers.
It is expected Mercedes would suffer the most from such a ban, but Horner doesn’t want to predict what effects it would have without seeing what happens first.
“It’s difficult to know how it would affect each team,” he said.
“I would hope that it brings things closer together, particularly on a Saturday afternoon, but it’s difficult to know what modes and how hard teams run their combustion engines.
“But it will have an effect, we will have to wait until Spa or Monza to see exactly what that effect is.”
Asked if Mercedes would suffer most, Horner said: “They definitely wind it up and down, you can hear the messaging that goes to the drivers,” he explained.
“Is it going to hurt them more than it hurts us? I think not enough just for us to rely on an engine detune from Mercedes.
“We’re working hard to improve our car and I think we have stuff in the pipeline which will hopefully keep us in that fight.”