Button compares Albon/Red Bull situation to his second F1 season

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2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button sees similarities between Alex Albon and his second season on the grid.

After a solid nine races to round out last year, the Thai driver has endured a torrid 2020 as highlighted by his current ninth place in the Drivers' standings just one point ahead of AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.

That has left Albon fighting to keep his seat for next year, with Red Bull giving him until the end of the season to "prove himself".

However, commenting on the 24-year-old's situation, Button is at least pleased to see the team giving him a chance.

"I’d be Albon, seriously," he told the Collecting Cars podcast on how the 20-year-old Briton that debuted in 2000 would manage in F1 today.

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"I think that they [Red Bull] have actually turned a corner with how they’re treating their young drivers.

“I think over the years they’ve been tough, especially with Gasly, I think with Albon they’ve realised they need to take it a bit easier, and maybe work with him with engineering and try to get him up to speed.

"I think the biggest is he’s got the quickest driver in the world for outright speed as a teammate, who has also set the car up like he wants it which is on the nose, very oversteery, and no-one else can drive it."

Reflecting back on those earlier years of his career, Button did reveal several issues which are very relatable to Albon.

"I was having so much fun and my first year of F1 was so straightforward," he explained.

"The [Williams] car felt great, Sir Frank [Williams] and Patrick [Head] were so forgiving, I don’t think I ever crashed in a race to be fair.

"Then the second year I got signed up with Benetton, really excited, and yeah my talent was not enough. I was terrible at engineering a car, I had no idea what to do, and no understanding of a racing car at all.

Button Monaco 01

"I remember when I got my drive with Williams, I drove the car and I was two-and-a-half tenths quicker than their test driver, and then they made me do an exam.

"They said ‘right, here are the questions, fill out the answers’. I had no idea, I got probably three right in 20 questions.

"The Williams just worked, and I got in the Benetton and it was upside down, nothing worked.

"My teammate was Giancarlo Fisichella who is notoriously good at driving really bad cars, so he blew me away a lot of the time, and mentally that really hurt, I didn’t get it.

"I really struggled because I just didn’t think I was good enough, ‘I’m not driving quickly enough, I just don’t have any skill’."

As for Albon himself, he admits to simply trying to block out the noise over his future.

"Obviously there is talk," he said. "There will always be talk but at the end of the day I know listening to whatever is being said doesn't change anything on track so my focus is on the driving and the results more than anything else.

"I know if I focus on that, all the other stuff will quieten down a bit. These things happen but I am focussed on the job and that is all that matters."

As for whether he would ever accept a return to AlphaTauri, Albon was also clear.

“No, not at all," he replied. “I think it’s every driver’s dream to race for a top team like Red Bull, and my intention is to stay here.”