year as a backup pilot has made me a better driver

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Alexander Albon returns to Formula 1 with Williams in 2022. After the 25-year-old was parked on the substitutes’ bench for a year in 2021 by Red Bull, he will start again as a regular driver in the new season. And by his own admission, the year as a test and reserve driver at Red Bull helped him become a better pilot.

“I’ve had a chance to look around and see how Formula 1 is offside [vom Fahrer] is working. As a racing driver, you concentrate completely on driving and that’s it,” explains Albon in an interview with ‘Motorsport.com’. In 2021, for example, he learned how a Formula 1 team works as a whole.

Working in the simulator also helped him. He also learned new things about the engine and understood “how everyone works together.” He reveals: “I gained a lot of experience and I also looked at how Checo and Max work, how they structure their team and how they communicate with their engineers.”

“Although I didn’t drive the car much,” he learned a lot in 2021, says Albon. “The guys at Red Bull know a lot about the car. They know how to make a car fast. And I can bring that to Williams. Next season I will be a more complete driver,” he announces.

“It belonged [2021] to my role of helping the team and doing the best possible job for them. But that also helped me,” explains Albon, whose personal goal was to return to the starting grid in 2022. He achieved this goal – and also crowned his last Red Bull year with the world title for Verstappen.

“It feels great to be a part of it,” says Albon and reports: “I did many 100 and 1,000 laps in the simulator and tried to get the best performance out of the team.” That’s why he was “nervous” at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, although he could only help behind the scenes in 2021.

“It feels like it was absolutely worth it,” reveals a satisfied Albon. In 2022, however, he wants to celebrate his successes directly on the track again and not just in the garage.

With images from Motorsport Images.

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