Alex Albon has secured a fulltime seat with Red Bull Racing for 2020, having made his debut with the senior Red Bull team at the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of summer.
Albon’s rise in Formula 1 has been meteoric. This time last year, the former Formula 2 racer had signed a deal with Jean-Paul Driot’s Nissan team in Formula E. However, having formerly been a Red Bull junior driver, Dr. Helmut Marko decided to seek him out to replace Brendon Hartley at Toro Rosso. With Driot willing to negotiate over releasing Albon, Red Bull secured Albon for the Toro Rosso team while Pierre Gasly joined Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing.
Albon then got a call up to replace Gasly at Red Bull over the summer break, having impressed with his speed and maturity over the opening half of the year. With Gasly underperforming, the pair were switched for the Belgian Grand Prix. Since then, Albon has scored 68 points and has finished inside the top six in every race he’s finished. More importantly is that Albon has shown an ability to race and fight back – something Gasly appeared unable to do as he occasionally got mired in the midfield.
After praising Albon after his combative United States Grand Prix, team boss Christian Horner welcomed Albon aboard for 2020 and said he had earned the drive completely on merit: “Alex has performed extremely well since his debut with the team in Belgium and his results – seven finishes in the top-six – speak for themselves. It’s extremely hard to deny that level of consistency and in tandem with a growing reputation as a tenacious, fiercely committed racer, Alex has proved that he fully deserves to continue his progress with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. There is plenty of potential still to unlock and we look forward to seeing Alex alongside Max in 2020.”
Having secured the seat for next year, allowing him to prepare properly for a season alongside Verstappen, Albon thanked Red Bull for the trust they are showing in him:“I am really excited to be partnering Max again for next year and I know how fortunate I am to be given this opportunity. I’m hugely thankful that Red Bull have put their trust in me and believed in my results since I joined the Team and for them to keep me in the car next year is a big deal. This year has been an incredible year for me and getting the call up to Red Bull mid-season was already a big step, so now I will use the learnings from this season and use the experience to improve and fight at the front in 2020.”
This closes the door on rumours that Nico Hulkenberg might be snapped up by the Red Bull stable. Toro Rosso have also confirmed their driver line-up will remain unchanged for 2020, with Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat remaining with the junior Red Bull team, which will be renamed Alpha Tauri next season.