Australian Grand Prix – Alexander Albon brought out the red flags in FP1 when he dropped his Toro Rosso, but was able to get back out for a comprehensive FP2 session due to the minor damage.
Young rookie driver Alexander Albon was the only driver to bring out the red flags on the opening day of practice in Australia when he crashed the Toro Rosso into the barriers on the exit of Turn 2.
The collision resulted in him being parked sideways across the racing line minus his front wing, but he was able to get the car moving again and returned to the pits under his own power as the session was briefly red flagged.
The damage was minor enough to allow him to come back out on track around fifteen minutes later, clocking up another nine laps before the chequered flag before then running an unaffected FP2 session.
“I took it a bit easier after the spin in FP1 and once I got back up to speed we went on with the programme, trying a few more things on the car.” said Albon after the day’s action.
“This circuit isn’t easy, but I think our pace looks good so far and I’m slowly building up confidence. Timesheet apart, we’re looking pretty strong in a very tight midfield and now it’s up to us to do our homework tonight to improve tomorrow.”
Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls said that Albon’s error was an easy one to make at a track that catches out the best of them: “Having underestimated the loss of grip with the tyres coming up in temperature, he had a spin towards the end of the session – on such a track it’s easy to hit the wall, so we elected to give the car a thorough check, which meant his session was only a little bit cut short.”
With Albon only finishing P17 on the timesheets in FP2, Eddolls explained that there had been an issue on his main flying lap that meant his finishing position wasn’t representative: “On his first timed lap in Turn 11, due to a little glitch, he had to abort his flying lap. The tyres don’t perform as well after the first timed lap, so Alex’s time isn’t representative. It’s massively tight in the midfield and only a couple of tenths of a second can make a big difference on the timesheets, so our focus tonight will be to analyse the data and to fine tune the car balance.”
“Our long runs look fairly reasonable, and even though it’s still early days, we’re quite happy with our pace. All of us and the drivers need to get everything together tomorrow to extract every bit of performance for a good result in Qualifying.”