Three months on from the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, the Aston Martin Redbull Racing team returned to action on Silverstone’s National Circuit with Alex Albon behind the wheel of the RB16.
The team made use of the second of its two allocated filming days in July to prepare for the highly anticipated start to the 2020 Formula One World Championship 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, Alex was quickly back into the groove and enjoying being on track with the race team.
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 has adopted, with tested personnel wearing face masks and PPE.
The day also marked the first appearance of #WeRaceAsOne messaging on the RB16. #WeRaceAsOne is a united campaign between F1 teams and stakeholders in the movement to tackle issues facing the sport and society.
Alex said: “It was good to be back in the car at Silverstone for our filming day and good to shake off the dust. 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. It’s a small track, a busy track and it was really hot, 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.”
Commenting on a successful day’s filming, Team Principal Christian Horner, said: “We’ve been at Silverstone to get ourselves back up to speed – 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.
“It’s important for the safety of our team and everyone around us. We also have the #WeRaceAsOne messaging on the car for the first time. It is hugely positive that all the teams are involved and behind this important initiative led by F1 and everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is fully behind it.”
Christian also acknowledged the importance of the filming day for Alex as he embarks on his first full season with the team.
“It was very useful for Alex, to get himself dialled in again. He’s still relatively inexperienced in F1 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 benefit from.”