Alexander Albon will make his debut for Red Bull Racing this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps as a teammate of Max Verstappen. The British Thai is aware that he will soon have to get used to his new environment to perform in the remaining nine races of the season.
"The news came as a big surprise, but I have thought about it a lot and since then," said 23-year-old Albon on Thursday during the press conference for the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday.
"I have to admit that I am a bit tense, but I am going to do my best to get to know the team as quickly as possible. And I am going to listen to Max well, because he is doing very well at the moment", Albon looked ahead to the fight with his two year younger teammate.
"It is not easy to take on Max, but I try to do my own thing as much as possible. This is a big possibility for me."
Albon said that he is now the inexperienced driver within Red Bull. "I remember Max and I racing against each other in the karts in 2010. Then I was the experienced man and Max the newcomer. Now it's the other way around. That's crazy. We even had some crashes together," he laughed. .
See also: Start of the second half of the F1 season: 'Albon huge gamble at Red Bull'
Albon sees enough room for improvement for himself
To become somewhat familiar with the Red Bull, the London-born driver was already driving in the simulator, which is at the factory in Milton Keynes. "It takes some getting used to, but in the end it's just a car with four wheels."
"I don't doubt myself either," Albon emphasized, saying that after twelve races in his career he still saw a lot of room for improvement. "But when I look at my debut in Melbourne and how I am doing now, a lot has happened."
Albon also recalled how he received his promotion to the Red Bull top team. "I had a normal progress interview with Helmut Marko in Austria. Then it was suddenly said:" Oh by the way, you are driving from Belgium for Red Bull. "
Alexander Albon during the press conference at the Circuit Spa-Francorchamps (Photo: Pro Shots)
New Honda engine means grid penalty for Albon
The Thai will experience a quiet debut with his new team at Spa-Francorchamps. During qualification, he does not have to go all the way, because the introduction of the new 'Spec 4' power source from Honda requires a grid penalty to be redeemed and he therefore starts at the end.
"We therefore drive a lot during the training sessions and only focus on the pace in the race," Albon said. "Although I have to say that I would rather have fully participated in the qualification. At least I cannot wait to get started."
The Belgian Grand Prix starts on Friday with the first two free practice sessions (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.), followed by Saturday the third free practice session (11 a.m.) and qualification (3 p.m.) and on Sunday the race (3:10 p.m.).
After 12 out of a total of 21 races with 250 points in the lead, Hamilton is in the World Cup position and therefore has a considerable lead over number two Valtteri Bottas (188 points) and number three Verstappen (181 points).
See also: Five questions about GP Belgium: "Verstappen has something to compensate"