[F1 2019 VIDEO FEATURE] ALEXANDER ALBON: RAW ROOKIE

Alexander Albon joins Toro Rosso this season as 2019’s least experienced rookie, the 22-year-old having had just four days in an F1 car to prepare for his Grand Prix debut.

And while that’s a normal allocation for pre-season testing, his rival rookies have all had far more track time.

At Williams, George Russell has had 11 test days and two Friday practice sessions; McLaren’s Lando Norris, 11 test days and seven FP1s, while at Alfa Romeo, Antonio Giovinazzi has even had two race starts.

All of which puts Albon on the back foot in feeling properly ready… 

SOUNDBITE (English) ALEXANDER ALBON,
F1 DRIVER, TORO ROSSO:
“Yeah it hasn't hit me to be honest. I don't really see myself as an F1 driver right now. But, I'm sure as time goes on I'll feel it more and I’m when it comes to Melbourne and all the cameras start coming in and and the crowd then I'm sure it will hit me a bit more.”

And Albon feels the weight of expectation, even from visiting the squad’s Faenza factory, despite finishing third in Formula 2 last year.

SOUNDBITE (English) ALEXANDER ALBON,
F1 DRIVER, TORO ROSSO:
“You walk through the doors, and all the [employee] eyes are looking at you: ‘Oh your the racing driver! Oh, you’re the guy that's going to make this thing go around the lap.’”

Albon finished testing with the sixth fastest time, just 16 one thousandths of a second ahead of his new teammate Daniil Kvyat, and less than four one hundredths behind Renault’s Nico Hülkenberg.

It all makes for a lot of question marks ahead of Melbourne.

…but with Red Bull’s next big young gun, Dan Ticktum, in the wings, and set for his own F1 test this year, Albon won’t have time to settle in before the judgements begin. The team, though, has faith in his abilities.

SOUNDBITE (English) FRANZ TOST,
TEAM PRINCIPAL, TORO ROSSO:
“Alex Albon is a newcomer, 22 years old. But he won in GP3, he won in Formula 2 last year,  he was fighting for the championship - that means he should have the talent and capability to become a successful Formula 1 driver. I am very optimistic regarding Alex.”