Alexander Albon has expressed his confidence that he can fight for a 2022 Formula 1 seat with Red Bull Racing in spite of his demotion to a back-up role for 2021.
Albon made his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2019 and stepped up to Red Bull mid-season, retaining his position for 2020.
But Albon struggled alongside Max Verstappen and scored only two podiums, classifying seventh in the championship.
Red Bull has recruited Sergio Perez to partner Verstappen for 2021 but has kept hold of Albon in a test and reserve role.
Albon will take part in select DTM events but will prioritise his test and reserve duties with Red Bull.
Albon believes his prior experiences in racing – such as being dropped altogether by Red Bull in 2012 – have helped deal with the disappointment, and has reiterated his ambition to return in 2022.
“I’ve been through this kind of situation many times in my racing career, so it hasn’t been all that bleak let’s say,” he said of the situation. “There haven’t been any violins in the background!
“It’s more just been about getting back into it. I’m confident in myself, I know I can bounce back and that’s my target.
“There’s no secret that it was a difficult car and it was a difficult season for me last year so you just have to take it.
“My response is not so much thinking ‘why this and why that’, it’s more thinking ‘what can I do now to get back into it’ and fight for it.
“They [Red Bull] would have gotten rid of me – let’s be truthful – if they didn’t believe in me. So on my side I know they still trust me, they still have faith in what I can do and we just have to see how things work out during this year and going into next year.”
Albon has spent time in Red Bull’s simulator across the winter and will attend each grand prix in 2021 as back-up for both of its Formula 1 teams.
“I won’t be in the car as much this year but what I can do is learn,” he said.
“I will be at the track every race so I can at least understand from an engineering side of it how the team operate on a more in-depth scale, but it was also just about being on top of the car.
“It wasn’t an easy car last year, and part of me knows for a fact that if I could have been more comfortable with it, the performance would have been much stronger.
“It’s kind of what I’m doing right now, for this RB16B, it is about making the car better. That’s been a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing over the winter.”
Red Bull will present its 2021 car, the RB16B, on Tuesday.