Brazilian Grand Prix – Red Bull boss Christian Horner says the team are very encouraged by Alex Albon’s progress as they close on a driver decision for 2020.
Red Bull are one of three teams left to confirm their driver line-up for next season, although it’s not expected that there will be any surprises between Red Bull Racing and the junior Toro Rosso team (to be named Alpha Tauri in 2020).
Max Verstappen, Alex Albon, Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly are all expected to be kept on, with Verstappen safe in his role at Red Bull Racing. The identity of his teammate is slightly more ambiguous, with the team having a few options for the second cockpit at the senior team. Pierre Gasly, who was promoted to RBR in 2019, had a disappointing run with them but has flourished since being dropped back down to Toro Rosso. Daniil Kvyat has been consistently strong throughout the season, while Alex Albon has proved to be one of the surprises of the season since arriving in Formula 1 with Toro Rosso at the start of the year. Swapped with Gasly over the summer break, Albon has looked ever more comfortable to Red Bull Racing in recent races – and it leaves his bosses with a headache over who deserves the second RBR seat.
The most likely outcome at this point is that Albon will be kept on, having not disappointed or made too many unnecessary mistakes over his half season with Red Bull Racing. His US Grand Prix a week ago saw him recover to P5 from last place after a first lap clash with McLaren’s Carlos Sainz – a drive that impressed team boss Christian Horner.
“Alex has done a great job [today]. He was unlucky at the first corner, he ended up on a pincer-move, his comeback on what turned out to be three-stop strategy for him today,”
“I think he passed Carlos Sainz about three times. I think we counted something like 15, 16 overtakes today. It’s a strong recovery, I think you forget that he’s in his first year, even. We’ve been really encouraged with the development he’s been making – another positive day for him.”
It’s a pretty solid indication of the direction that the team are leaning, but there are still two races in which to make an impression. The first of those takes place this weekend at Interlagos in Brazil, a venue where Albon says he’s looking forward to visiting as he’s never raced at the ‘old school’ venue before: “Sao Paolo looks very cool and it’s a drivers track which takes you back to the old school of racing which I enjoy. Interlagos has a lot of history and it’s one of the circuits I’ve been looking forward to most this year to drive. Obviously I’ve never been before but from what I understand the weather is always going to be tricky there which always makes for an exciting weekend.”