The team made use of the second of its two allocated filming days to prepare for the highly anticipated start to the 2020 season in Austria.
Despite not having been in the cockpit of the RB16 for 118 days, since the final day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, Albon was quickly back into the groove and enjoying being on track.
The team used the 100 km filming day as an opportunity to get accustomed to the “new normal” way of working under COVID-19 safety protocols that F1 will adopt next week at the Red Bull Ring, with tested personnel wearing face masks and PPE.
Today also marked the first appearance of #WeRaceAsOne messaging on the RB16, a united campaign between F1 teams and stakeholders in the movement to tackle issues facing the sport and society.
“It was good to be back in the car and good to shake off the dust and get back into it,” said Albon. “I haven’t been in an F1 car for three months but after five or six laps I was right back into it.
“All that work in the gym doesn’t really matter until you see it on track,” he continued. “It’s a small track, a busy track and it was really hot today. So it’s been a good way to see where I’m at with fitness and I’m happy with it. It was also great to see everyone again.
“I’ve been in regular contact with the guys on my side of the garage since Melbourne, so things haven’t changed too much and it was easy to get that understanding again.
“It was also good for everyone to get used to the new COVID-19 protocols and it’s been pretty seamless. Overall it was a good opportunity to get back in touch with everything and to get back into that racing mindset.”
“We’ve been at Silverstone to get ourselves back up to speed,” added Christian Horner, “practicing garage protocols and pitstop procedures with the new COVID-19 precautions in place.
“As a trial run this has been great for the team to enable them to get used to these procedures, which are a little bit foreign, but which are vitally important. By the time we get to Austria, these procedures will be the new normal and today ensures that everybody knows what’s expected of them when we get to Austria. It’s important for the safety of our Team and everyone around us in Formula One.
“We also have the #WeRaceAsOne messaging on the car today for the first time. It is hugely positive that all the teams are involved and behind this important initiative led by Formula 1 and everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is fully behind it.”
Horner also acknowledged the importance of the filming day for Albon, who starts his first full season with the team next week. “Today has been very useful for Alex too, to get himself dialled in again. He’s still relatively inexperienced in Formula One terms, so to have a day that’s pretty spread out and to do those 100 km, albeit on show car tyres, is something that he’ll be able to take into Austria and benefit from.”
With filming complete, attention now turns to the final preparations for the journey to the team’s home circuit in Spielberg, where next week it will finally charge on into the 2020 season.