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Biography

SEASON INFORMATION
13/01/2018

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Biography

 
Like nearly all of his contemporaries, Christijan Albers began his racing career in Karting.

In 1997, in addition to winning the Dutch National Kart Championship (ICA 100cc), the youngster (still only 18), won the Benelux Formula Ford 1800 Championship, in addition to the Renault Megan Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort.

In 1998, Christijan moved up to the prestigious German F3 series, finishing fifth overall, courtesy of five podium visits, which included two wins.

A year later, the Dutch star clinched the title, with an impressive six wins and ten pole positions.

For 2000, the youngster made the switch to F3000, contesting the championship with the European Arrows Junior Team.

Rather than remain in F3000 in 2001, Albers made the move to DTM, he also took part in his first Formula One test with Minardi, subsequently being appointed reserve driver for the Italian team.

For 2002 he remained in DTM, driving a Mercedes for Team Rosberg, in addition to taking part in further tests for the Minardi F1 team.

For 2003, he moved to the Team HWA DTM team, going on to take his first win, at Adria, followed by additional wins at the Nurburgring, Norisring and Zandvoort. At season end, Christijan was runner-up to Bernd Schneider, and despite having won more races, missed out on the title by just four points.

Surprisingly, despite talk linking him with a number of F1 teams, Albers opted to remain in DTM for 2004, this time finishing third behind Mattias Ekström and Gary Paffett. It's believed that rather than pay for an F1 drive, Christijan preferred to further develop his talents in DTM, and at the same time be paid for his services, which is surely what being a professional racing driver is all about.

In mid-November 2004, it was announced that Christijan was to test for the Jordan team, raising hopes that he could make his F1 race debut in 2005. A month later, on December 23, the youngster signed to rivals Minardi, on reflection this might have been the best move.

To some it may have appeared that Christijan's decision to sign for the underperforming Italian outfit was a major step backwards, however, let's not forget that Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber all attracted the attention of the bigger teams whilst driving for the perennial backmarkers.

Furthermore, following the departure of Eddie Jordan and the arrival of Alex Shnaider the situation at Dadford Road throughout much of 2005 was one of confusion and, to a certain extent, despair.

Despite the limitations of the equipment at his disposal, Christijan gave a fairly good account of himself in 2005, though he definitely found the competition a little harder once Robert Doornbos arrived.

For the first eleven rounds of the season, the Dutch driver was partnered by Austrian Friesacher, who, in qualifying, kept the Dutchman on his toes. However, in the races it was Christijan who appeared to hold the upper hand, getting the car home, when not sidelined by technical failures, whilst Friesacher frequently ended up in the gravel.

When the Austrian's money ran out, Minardi called on the services of Jordan test driver Robert Doornbos, making it a case of 'Double Dutch' for the Faenza outfit.

Doornbos was an altogether different kind of driver, and pushed his fellow 'Dutchie' hard… very hard. Although Albers had the qualifying pace, Doornbos invariably drove the better race.

The highlight of Christijan's season - other than fifth in that pathetic excuse of a race at Indianapolis - was his mammoth qualifying effort at Montreal where he put the black and white car fourteenth on the grid.

Like Friesacher and Doornbos, Albers spent much of the 2005 season fighting with the Jordans of Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan, enjoying a series of mini-Grands Prix with the Silverstone-based outfit.

In 2006, the Dutch driver headed to Midland F1, formerly Jordan, spending the season, along with teammate Monteiro, in further 'mini Grands Prix' this time with Super Aguri and Toro Rosso.

A lack of budget, uncertainty regarding (Midland owner) Alex Shnaider's commitment to F1, and a lack of development once the season got underway, all conspired to make it a difficult year for the Dutch driver.

That said, the did the best job possible, under the circumstances, however, engine problems in qualifying and an assortment of reliability issues during the races, did little to help the cause.

Despite an unnecessary incident at Monaco, Christijan generally gave a good account of himself, especially at Indianapolis where he qualified fourteenth, and the tenth place finish in Hungary. Therefore it came as no surprise when, a fortnight after buying the Silverstone based team, Dutch car manufacturer Spyker announced that it would retain Albers for 2007.

Looking ahead to the new season, we wrote: "In 2007, the 27-year-old Dutchman is number-one driver, racing an orange car for a Dutch manufacturer, with plenty of Dutch partners and sponsors. It doesn't really get any better than that… and Christijan must rise to the occasion." Fact is, he didn't. He didn't come anywhere close.

We had previously commented that there was a clear downside to the Dutch racer's character, namely his desire to put down his teammate, in any way possible. In 2005 he used the media to criticise (former teammate), Robert Doornbos, while at Monaco in 2006 appeared to deliberately 'take out' his Tiago Monteiro, who reciprocated a few races later at Silverstone.

In a nutshell, Christijan is not a team player, and in F1, where teamwork is absolutely vital, this is not the way to make progress.

From the outset, it was clear that Christijan was out-classed by Adrian Sutil, however, rather than doing the best job he could, the Dutchman regularly appeared to throw his toys from the pram.

In Canada, Christijan and Sutil were involved in a needless incident which eliminated both drivers, and just days later the Dutchman parted company with his long-term manager, Lodewijk Varossieau, who had previously been able to calm the relationship between the highly strung racer and his team boss, Colin Kolles.

At Magny-Cours Christijan ignored his lollipop man during a pit stop and charged off with the fuel hose still attached. In addition to being fined 5,000 euros, the Dutchman suffered the ignominy of having the move described by Niki Lauda as one of the most senseless in F1 history. It came as no great surprise therefore when Christijan was sacked just a couple of weeks later, straight after the Silverstone race.

Officially, the team claimed that Christijan had been dropped due to lack of sponsorship money, with team boss Michiel Mol describing the move "one of the toughest decisions of my career". Unofficially however, it's believed that Kolles and the other team bosses had simply decided that enough was enough.

The Dutchman attended the Grands Prix at Monza and Spa telling anyone who would listen that he aimed to be back in F1 in 2008, he even drove the Spyker at a promotional event on the streets of Rotterdam.

With no offers in F1, Christijan is said to be considering returning to DTM with Audi, having tested in late 2007.

Statistics - Prior to 2008 Season

Drivers' Titles: 0
Seasons in F1: 3
Grand Prix: 46
Wins: 0
Points: 4
Poles: 0
Fastest Laps: 0

Best result in 2007: 14th (2 times)
Best qualifying 2007: 21st (4 times)
Worst qualifying 2007: 22nd (5 times)
Average grid position 2007: 21.67
2007: Out-qualified Adrian Sutil 2 times
2007: Out-qualified by Adrian Sutil 7 times

2007: Completed: 407 out of 586 laps (69.45%)
2007: Finished 5 times from 9 starts (56%)

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