For the next few weeks, as we await the return of racing, Motorsport Week is delving into the archives to search out the first time that our grid of 2020 F1 racers stepped into top-level machinery in a public forum.
Anyone with even the shortest of short-term memories should remember this one – it was, after all, only 14 months ago.
Unlike some Formula 1 drivers Alex Albon did not have multiple tests or extensive track time before getting his call up to a race seat.
Albon, who had never driven a Formula 1 car, was signed to Toro Rosso for 2019 the day after the season-ending 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Toro Rosso had already determined its line up for the two-day post-race test and while Albon was in attendance he did not get behind the wheel.
A filming day at Misano in February 2019 gave Albon a brief taste of Formula 1 machinery but his first proper run came on the second day of the opening pre-season test in Spain.
Did it go well? To begin with… not so. Albon spun exiting Turn 4 on his out-lap and nestled his Toro Rosso in the gravel trap. Team boss Franz Tost suggested a steering issue was at fault but Albon nobly accepted responsibility.
“I was thinking ‘don’t spin it’ but that was exactly what I did!” Albon said at the end of the day’s running. “The morning was a little bit difficult but, to be honest, I didn’t want to think too much about it when I got back into the car.
“I just said to myself, ‘Hey, the track is really cold and Kimi [Raikkonen] did the same yesterday,’ so that kind of reassured me a little bit. In the end it was OK, definitively a good experience but the high-speed stuff is still new to me, a bit of a shock but I’m enjoying it.”