Tost said Alex Albon could be “surprise of the year” during 2019 winter testing

16-01-2020 19:26
by Bevan Youl
General
Tost said Alex Albon could be “surprise of the year” during 2019 winter testing

Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has said that he believed Alex Albon could have been the “surprise of the year” during winter testing in Barcelona before the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Before being called up to drive for Toro Rosso for 2019 Albon had originally signed to drive in the 2018-19 Formula E season.
 
Twelve months later and the Thai-British driver has been promoted to a seat at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, making a switch with Pierre Gasly mid-way through last year.
 
Tost recalls seeing the potential Albon showed during testing despite it being his first outing.

"When he started testing it was the first time in a Formula 1 car and he did very well in Barcelona, where he showed his potential,” he said to RACER.

“I said in Barcelona that he could be the surprise of the year among the young drivers and Alexander performed fantastically from the very beginning.

"Red Bull observed him and then they decided to change drivers.

"We always talk to each other - Helmut (Marko), Christian (Horner) and myself - we discuss the different drivers. From the beginning I said that he (Albon) showed good performance.”

Tost does expect it will still take some time for Albon to fully settle into Formula 1, adding that he will need to focus on himself, especially having Max Verstappen as a teammate.

"He's in his second season and I always say that it takes at least three seasons for a driver to fully understand Formula 1,” he added.

"If you have a driver like Verstappen next to you, it's very positive on the one hand, because you can see where you gain and lose time.

“On the other hand, it's so fast that sometimes it can be frustrating that you don't get to the same level.

“Alexander should concentrate on himself, he should learn and then do it his own way."

Toro Rosso are being rebranded as Scuderia Alpha Tauri this year, launching their car on February 14.

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