Alex Albon insists he’s in it for the long haul at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and won’t stop fighting for his future, writes Will Jennings.
The Thai driver has struggled with a tricky car in his first full year with the team and boss Christian Horner last week noted he has just a couple of races to secure his spot as Max Verstappen’s teammate next season.
Albon lies eighth in the World Drivers’ Championship, 98 points and five places behind Verstappen, and scored his maiden podium finish at the Tuscan Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old rued inconsistent results but believes he has what it takes to hold off the advances of a rejuvenated Pierre Gasly, who he replaced at Red Bull mid-way through the 2019 campaign, or Nico Hulkenberg in a bid to win a new contract.
“It’s gone okay - obviously, there are things I would have liked to have gone better,” said Albon, who is supporting Esso’s recently-launched, cutting-edge and commercially-available Esso Synergy Supreme+ 99 fuel.
“It’s been a bit of an up and down year so far.
“I’d say this year’s happened quickly, and it’s been a fast journey. Joining in last year and then coming through into the big team, it’s obviously happened all at once.
“I’m learning my way into Formula One but also learning the cars, as well, which has been pretty challenging.
“I’ve enjoyed it though, and it feels like somewhere, obviously, I want to be and stay here for a while.
“I’ve got my first podium, which was really nice, and then apart from that I’m just working hard at it.
“I’m pushing on and trying to get some good points for the team.”
Albon, who represents Thailand, is backing Esso’s new high-octane Synergy Supreme+ 99 fuel, which allows engines to operate more efficiently and results in enhanced fuel economy, power and acceleration.
He recently sampled the exciting benefits when he drove a Synergy Supreme+ 99-powered ice cream van, with double doses of Esso’s proprietary additive cleaning and protecting engines to make them more responsive.
Albon – who is in just his second Formula One season - slipped from a sixth-place spot in qualifying to a 12th-place finish in last weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
And Gasly’s success at sister team Scuderia AlphaTauri - the Frenchman won this season’s Italian Grand Prix – has sparked rumours about who will partner Verstappen next season.
Albon’s strong fourth and fifth-place finishes in the Styrian, Hungarian and 70th Anniversary Grand Prix come with tough showings in Italy and Austria, and a reliability failure at the Eifel Grand Prix.
But he's upbeat about the team's future and reckons inter-garage harmony can close the 209-point gap on Mercedes and catapult Red Bull towards a more successful 2021.
“It’s very open - everything is free on the table,” he added. “And I think, more than anything, there’s no inter-team, inter-political stuff going on, which is positive for us as a Team.”
“They’re a good bunch of guys and there’s a lot of banter. It’s good and it’s a really fun Team to be a part of.
“Obviously I’ve been part of the Red Bull family for a while but with Red Bull joining in half way through last year and into this year, it’s just like any other team.
“It’s about getting on with the team, understanding people behind the scenes."
Esso is one of the leading retail fuel brands in the UK, with more than 1,200 Esso-branded filling stations serving around 800,000 customers each day. To view further content about Esso Synergy Supreme+ 99, head to https://www.youtube.com/c/essoeurope