Martin Brundle says Alex Albon’s performance in Abu Dhabi provided ammunition for those at Red Bull wanting to keep him.
The Thai driver put in one of his best drives of 2020 in the final race of the season, finishing in P4, narrowly behind Lewis Hamilton.
Even so, it looks more likely than ever that he is to lose his seat to Sergio Perez for 2021, with Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz claiming an announcement is imminent.
Brundle, though, thinks Albon’s supporters within the team will have a stronger case to make in his favour after his season finale showing.
“Alex Albon had arguably his strongest day all season from a team perspective, passing Lando Norris with a nice move and then staying well within the pit-stop window of both Mercedes, which took away their opportunity to try something different with one car on a second stop in order to try to destabilise Max Verstappen’s metronomic progress out front,” said Brundle in his column for Sky Sports.
“Albon was the fastest car on track in the final quarter of the race and closed to within a second-and-a-half of Hamilton, and four seconds of Bottas who finished second.
“For those in the team keen to retain Albon next season, it provided timely ammunition.”
All in all, the race in Abu Dhabi proved to be one of the least exciting of the season, and it was not the first time that has been the case.
Daniel Ricciardo has called for the circuit to be redesigned, and Brundle feels the same way.
“In theory, it should work well given that the turn seven hairpin is followed by a long straight, a slow chicane, another long straight and a slow double chicane,” he added.
“The problem is there are simply too many off-camber corners which exacerbate the aerodynamic problems of following other aero-laden cars, and the first and third sectors are largely ‘follow the leader’. The final sector especially always demands tyre-temperature management.
“In four of the last six GPs here, the top three on the grid have finished in the same order and it’s the sixth consecutive Abu Dhabi race to be won from pole position. This track played a key role in the creation of the DRS rear wing concept after Fernando Alonso lost the 2010 World Championship in his Ferrari stuck behind Vitaly Petrov’s Renault for most of the race.
“It’s time for a rethink in the layout and cambers.”