Alex Albon, a two-year veteran of Formula One, is in Indianapolis this weekend to take in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and potentially look for a job for the 2022 racing season.
Albon arrived in Indianapolis at around 2 a.m. Friday and found himself at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 12 hours later walking around the paddock and talking to team owners.
The Thai driver from London serves as a test and reserve driver for Red Bull. He competed in F1 in 2019-20 for Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso, scoring two podium finishes, both third, in Italy and Bahrain.
“I want to see what’s out there,” Albon said. “My main goal is to be in F1, but there’s never a 100 percent certainty on that, so you got to have plan B and C to see what else is out there. I’ve always had that interest within INDYCAR. You see it on the rise now, especially with the viewership and everything going up.”
Most notably, Albon visited with former Formula One driver and NTT INDYCAR SERIES rookie Romain Grosjean before practice for the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix (12:30 p.m. ET Saturday, live on NBCSN). Afterward, he talked with team owners Dale Coyne and Rick Ware and hopped inside the cockpit of the No. 52 Nurtec ODT Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with Rick Ware Racing.
Albon said he was curious to see the aeroscreen in person and was impressed with how good the vision was from within the cockpit. The aeroscreen was something he saw in development while racing for Red Bull, because Red Bull Advanced Technologies helped design the innovative cockpit protection device.
Albon said Grosjean’s happiness and success also have been a source of curiosity that made the 25-year-old want to see the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in person.
“Seeing Romain, as well, seeing what he’s doing, it’s been really interesting to see,” Albon said. “I just wanted to see what he thinks about it. Is he happy? Of course, he’s happy. He’s always got a smile on his face. How was that transition for him, and how did he feel in INDYCAR straight away? He looks very comfortable here.”
Albon said he has never seen the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in person, but he grew up watching INDYCAR and was a fan of Sebastien Bourdais, the driver of the No. 14 ROKiT AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet this weekend, as well as NBC Sports analyst Paul Tracy.
Albon said the F1 summer break, as well as a break in the 2021 DTM Championship, in which he also competes, allowed for him to make the trip to the United States.
So far, Albon said he likes what he sees. Albon has more team owners to meet with this weekend, and he wouldn’t rule out a full-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES ride in 2022 if the right opportunity came along.
“It’s been really interesting to see,” he said. “Honestly, it’s more just hard to say if it’s something I would want to be doing. I’m seeing a few teams out there right now. I want to chat with them and see what’s out there so I can decide what I am going to do.
“Let’s just say, obviously, if the right opportunity is there, or let’s say the lack of opportunity is there in F1, and there’s an opportunity here that’s a good opportunity with a good team, and if in these next few days I think it’s something I would enjoy, obviously then the odds (of racing INDYCAR in 2022) go up.”