Albon changes Friday approach to help track learning
Toro Rosso has changed the approach that Alex Albon will have for Friday practice in a bid to help the Formula 1 rookie get up to speed quicker.
Although the Thai driver has impressed during the first three races of the year, he admits himself that one of the difficulties he has faced is finding the limits early enough in the weekend.
Following discussions with his Toro Rosso team, a new structure for his Friday run plans has now been agreed which should allow him to focus on getting himself dialled in better rather than pushing so much on car changes.
“I still say I struggle a little bit in FP1s and FP2s, to get up to speed a little bit quicker,” said Albon ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
“So we have changed the run plan on my side a little bit to make it easier for me to get up to speed. It is just making the car a bit more predictable earlier on Fridays, and then I can be more aggressive with set-up through the weekend.
“It’s for me to get more confidence early in the run. It is more having the car, a little bit let’s say, more focused on stability rather than anything else. So I can build into it with the track.
“Melbourne and China were new to me so you want a car that you can feel – so you can spend more time learning the track than learning the car."
Asked if it was something he requested or Toro Rosso suggested, Albon replied: “It was ultimately both of us. Let’s say on Fridays if the car is a bit nervous, it is not as comfortable for me to learn the circuit, most probably due to experience more than anything.
“I don’t know the tracks, so when I start pushing straight away and make these small mistakes and have these small snaps of oversteer, then it takes me a bit longer to get comfortable with the car.
“It was a joint decision. Toro Rosso has that experience and they know what us rookies need to get confidence in the cars.”
Albon thinks that there is scope for him to lift his game, especially when it comes to extracting more performance through a better setup.
“The pace has been okay, even in winter testing it wasn’t too bad, and I do feel quite comfortable with the car,” he said.
“But there are still places I need to improve. I know that. There are places I am fine tuning and also just with setup, because it is one thing in F1: knowing your tools on the steering and everything, it makes a difference for lap time. So I am trying to be a bit more active.”
Additional reporting by Oleg Karpov
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