Alexander Albon says the grid penalty he will receive for the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend will allow him to turn his focus towards pace, rather than striving for a result in his first race back with Red Bull.
During the summer break it was announced that Pierre Gasly would be being demoted to Toro Rosso, with Albon going in the other direction to Red Bull, after the Frenchman endured a torrid first half of the season.
The Thai-British driver’s first race comes at Spa, but not in ideal circumstances as he will receive a 10-place grid penalty for a new engine, putting him out of qualifying.
"As usual, we have focused on improving both reliability and performance, in the hope of achieving even better results with both teams in this part of the season," said Honda technical director Toyoharu Tanabe.
"Our plan is that only Albon and [Daniil] Kvyat will run it at Spa, for strategic reasons, looking at the rest of the season as a whole."
Honda are in charge of the engines for both Red Bull and Toro Rosso, and were not keen on introducing the upgrade for all four drivers at the same time, thus incurring four penalties.
Instead, Max Verstappen and Gasly will receive theirs in Italy, while Kvyat and Albon will get theirs at Spa.
Although Albon would have liked to start his new career with Red Bull under normal conditions, he is confident he can gain some knowledge and understanding of the car, which would have been harder if he was fighting at the front.
"We'll just go into the weekend more focused on race pace, which means more laps," he said at the drivers’ press conference on Thursday.
"I still would have liked to have given it a go and see how I could have done in qualifying and try and start further up than I will be."
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