After a strong first half of the season with , the Anglo-Thai racer has been promoted to the main Red Bull outfit alongside at the expense of , who has returned to the Faenza team.

Albon acknowledged that he has a rare opportunity to get his hands on a race-winning car in his rookie season.

“Not many drivers get the chance to drive a car capable of winning a race so early in their F1 career, so it’s a great opportunity to be driving for ,” he said in a team preview. “It’s a big step, a big difference, and the factory’s a lot closer to my house, which is handy!

“We know what the car is capable of and we’ve seen what Max has been able to do this year. I want to see what it’s like compared to what I’m used to, but at the same time, I know this weekend is my first time in the car, I’m still learning and improving as a driver and there’s definitely more to come.

“I know one of the main differences will be the noise and attention that comes with the move but I’m keeping my feet on the ground. I’m just focusing on the job I have to do for Spa, I’ll be doing a lot of listening and observing.”

Albon says he’s done what preparation work he could at the Milton Keynes factory, given that there was no opportunity to drive the car.

“We’ve got as much simulator prep done as we can, so now it’s about going through procedural things with the team and getting to know everyone.

“This is a big step, but I feel I’ve been through these big jumps before and taken the opportunities – I’m not worried about that. I’m focused and ready to be as strong as possible for the second half of the year.”

Albon’s initial F1 call-up came together late, with only confirming his drive in November of last year – having had to get him released from his Nissan contract.

Over his junior career, Albon has raced at Spa-Francorchamps in two-litre , an Formula 3, GP3 and Formula 2.

His latest outing at the venue yielded third place in last year’s F2 sprint race.

He added: “Spa hasn’t necessarily been that successful of a track for me, but we got podiums there in Formula 2 last year so it’s still been good. Also, you never know what’s going to happen there with the weather.”

Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing

Alex Albon,

Photo by: Content Pool

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