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Albon: Red Bull program was my only realistic path to F1

Written by  Dec 02, 2018

Alexander Albon admits a return to the Red Bull program was probably his only way to achieve his Formula 1 dream.

The British-Thai racer was chosen to replace Brendon Hartley at the junior Toro Rosso team in 2019 but only after a tough negotiation to be released from a two-year Nissan deal in Formula E.

With the deal done, however, it has given Albon the chance to look back over his junior career and the tumultuous end to his first stint with the Austrian energy drinks giant back in 2012.

“Very tough, it was a difficult year for me for numerous reasons, not least because of my results, but it made me work that much harder,” he said of being dropped by Red Bull after a poor Formula Renault campaign.

“I was on the brink of stopping racing all together. Since then, I knew I had to impress every time I drove and fortunately Dr. [Helmut] Marko gave me a second chance.”

Without much financial backing, Albon depended on DAMS to help him in F2 after moving up from GP3 alongside Charles Leclerc at Prema but finishing third behind George Russell and Lando Norris this year proved enough to get his big break.

“I never gave up on it, I needed to believe that it could still happen,” he declared. “Having said that, I knew that my chance of going to F1 was very slim as I didn’t have a proper budget.

“In reality, the only way I was going to have the opportunity was through Toro Rosso/Red Bull, but as we all know, it is not easy to impress Dr. Marko!”

As for what Albon hopes to achieve alongside another returnee to the Red Bull stable in Daniil Kvyat, the 22-year-old will take it one step at a time.

“Personally, I don’t really set goals for the end of the year. It’s more about trying to maximize each race weekend as it comes," he explained.

“I won’t have many days in the car before Melbourne, so it will be very important to be as prepared as possible and take each race as it comes. Of course, it would be nice to fight regularly for points and at the sharp end.”

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