Alexander Albon has exceeded Toro Rosso’s expectations during his first week on-track as a Formula 1 driver, according to the team’s deputy technical director Jody Egginton.
Albon was signed by Toro Rosso last November but had no prior experience in Formula 1 machinery until he participated in a brief shakedown at Misano.
That was followed up with two full days in the STR14 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last week, as he shared track time with team-mate Daniil Kvyat.
Albon set the second-fastest time of the week, beaten only by Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg, and completed 268 laps during his days in the Honda-powered car.
“He’d not driven a Formula 1 car before,” explained Egginton. “He’d done a reasonable amount of simulator work, which you can imagine we’ve done a big simulator programme and he’s done a lot of time with us.
"On the filming day he did a good job getting in and here he’s been fantastic.
"The install off [spin] was partly engineering induced, it wasn’t directly his fault to be fair, after that he got into the programme and he’s been great.
"Toro Rosso are familiar with young drivers. His progress in places where he was quick initially and not quick enough are exactly as you’d expect.
"But by the end of the day he’d ticked every box and on some of his long runs, especially on the C2 compound, he did a really good job, we’re really pleased with him, a fantastic approach, and he’s exceeded my expectations.
"The engineers are pleased, we’re really excited to be working with him. He hadn’t done much running, only a bit at Misano, before here, but he’s been really good so far, we’re happy and impressed.
"It’s one of the nice things about Toro Rosso, working with the young drivers, and moving them forward.
"He’s on a steep learning curve but the young drivers’ capacity to learn quickly and move forward is really impressive, so far we’re happy."