Alex Albon’s stalling career in Formula 1 took a pounding on Friday evening during the second free practice session of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Under the lights of Sakhir, he lost it exiting the last corner, cruelly in the line of sight of the pitwall; halfway through the session, the #23 Red Bull shrugged violently out of control, fiercely speared into the wall, a broken mess.
Afterwards, Alex told Sky F1, “I did back out but not enough but it is one of those things. In FP1 the car was feeling OK and in FP2 we tried a few things but it didn’t work out, we will see how it goes.”
Thankfully no harm came to the driver, who reported he was okay and apologised. Later he was cleared by the medical centre.
He added later in the team report,: “Straight away from FP1 the car was feeling pretty good and then in FP2 we tried a couple of things that didn’t quite work out.
“Later in the session I was a bit surprised by the lack of grip on track and the accident was at quite an awkward angle but I’m okay and it’s just one of those things but I’m sorry to the guys in the garage.
“Throughout the year we’ve suffered with the rear tyres but strangely here it seems to be the fronts so we’ll have to look at that and see how to make them last longer.
“We also sampled the prototype tyres and swapped between different compounds but they didn’t have a lot of grip so we’ll see how they develop and hopefully they improve.”
It might well be a decisive moment for Red Bull who were immediately triggered into action to obtain parts to rebuild the wreck from scratch. A long night of hard graft awaits the boys in Blue to repair the damage when they should have been focusing on how to dethrone the Mercs at a track that suits the RB16.
For Alex who needs three great races to keep his seat next year as Red Bull are hampering the team with this unprecedented patience with an errant driver clearly out of his depth, handbraking their programme and, as a direct result, their ace Max Verstappen who was second quickest at the end of the night.
Team principal, Christian Horner added, “Frustrating, thankfully Alex is OK. There is a lot of superficial damage to the car and it will keep the guys busy. He has been released from the medical centre which is good news.”
After witnessing the incident on Sky F1, Damon Hill said, “Everyone’s done this… but Alex Albon does not need this right now. Although he’s still got the rest of the weekend.”
Red Bull’s inhouse option is to promote on form Pierre Gasly, the Frenchman destroyed by Max first time he was promoted may be more ready to slot in beside the #33 car.
The other option is for Helmut Marko and the decisions makers at Red Bull to opt for the experience of Sergio Perez to back up Max, who has minced everyone he has been up against in the same car.
The Mexican would be an obvious asset and more than likely to have the pace and consistency to push the Dutchman and turned a one-pronged attack into a proper double-edged sword.
For now its Max versus the rest, not Red Bull, he needs someone solid and capable in his corner, this has not been forthcoming since Daniel Ricciardo departed.
The question for Red Bull is simple: Sergio? Or more pain?
We’re still under a red flag in Bahrain following Albon’s big collision with the barriers 👀