Alex Albon has said that being on the sidelines of Formula 1 at the start of the 2021 season was “torture”.
The Thai driver had raced in F1 in 2019 and 2020, but he found himself out of a seat at the end of last year after Red Bull opted to replace him with Sergio Perez.
Albon is racing in DTM this campaign, while also serving as Red Bull’s reserve and test driver.
In a recent interview, the 25-year-old said being dropped by Red Bull was “tough” but he has slowly acclimated to not being on the F1 grid this campaign.
“It’s been tough. When you’ve been in F1, and you’re at the race tracks watching it, not driving but being there, it’s tricky to sit there and relax. I got better at it during the year,” Albon said.
“At the first race, it was torture. But I got into the rhythm of it.
“If anything it increased my desire to be back on the grid, not just for friends and family but also the fans and everyone who has supported me – it motivated me and kept me going to get the seat.”
Albon will be returning to the pinnacle of motorsport in 2022, with Williams confirming him as George Russell’s replacement.
Asked how he dealt with the uncertainty of his racing career and rumours linking him to a return to Formula 1, he said:
“Mostly it was just about keeping your head down.
“People’s opinions, things like that, you can’t control. You can control what you’re doing and that for me was being involved as much as I can with the team, doing the best job that I could do off track.
“It’s hard to prove yourself when you’re not driving the car, but at least on that side, cover all your bases. Once Valtteri [Bottas] and George were moving around, it started to spice up the market a bit – and there was an opportunity,” he concluded.