Alexander Albon, Formula Two, 2018

Albon free to join Toro Rosso as Nissan Formula E team confirms split

Formula E

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Alexander Albon has split from Nissan Formula E team without even starting a race for them, fuelling speculation he is about to be confirmed as a Toro Rosso driver for the 2019 F1 season.

Albon had been announced alongside Sebastien Buemi in the team’s line-up for the 2018-19 season. However speculation about his future mounted after he failed to take part in pre-season testing for the team.

Nissan has now confirmed it has “agreed to part ways with Albon exiting his contract to take up a different opportunity in motorsport.”

“Nissan thanks Albon for his efforts to date and wishes him the best of luck for his future endeavours,” it added.

The team will confirm the identity of Sebastien Buemi new team mate on Friday.

Albon finished third in the Formula Two championship last weekend behind George Russell and Lando Norris, both of which have confirmed F1 seats for next season.

Toro Rosso has already announced Daniil Kvyat as one of its drivers for next year. Pierre Gasly is leaving to join Red Bull, meaning Brendon Hartley would lose his place at the team if Albon is confirmed

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2018 F1 season

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Sebastien Buemi, Nissan, Formula E testing, Valencia, 2018
Albon had been announced as Buemi’s team mate at Nissan for the 2018-19 season

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Albon free to join Toro Rosso as Nissan Formula E team confirms split”

  1. Surely that does then mean that he’ll be announced at Toro Rosso alongside Kvyat. That does make me a feel a little sad for Hartley, as he’d arguably improved a lot in recent races; rarely far off Gasly in the last few races. As with Vergne/Kvyat, it hardly seems fair that one is dropped entirely, while the other is promoted to compete for victories.

    Few (including me) would really argue that Hartley is worth another shot though, as he’s not shown anything eye catching over the year and a bit he’s been on the grid. I’m glad he got a chance nonetheless.

    1. I’m glad he got his chance too, but I think his age was also an issue. He is 29 to Gasly’s 22, and in a de facto development team like STR you’re kind of defeating the purpose sticking with someone that age for a second season unless they’ve shown massive potential. He applied himself well and probably leaves a much better driver than when he came in.

  2. Hartley to FE?

    1. @phylyp I would think a Indycar would be his main target since that is where he was headed before getting the call from Dr. Marko to race for Toro Rosso. Problem is there aren’t many existing seats left at this point

      1. Um, you mean WEC @seanloh?

        1. @geemac No, after Porsche announced they were ending the endurance racing program it was widely reported that Hartley had signed on to race for Ganassi in Indycar.

          1. @seanloh – thank you Sean, good to know. So we’ve got up to two F1 drivers bound for IndyCar’s 2019 season. Neat.

    2. @phylyp Oliver Rowland will most likely take his place in Nissans Formula E team. He already tested for the team in Valencia in stead of Albon.

  3. First, second and third from F2 into F1, it sounds fair to me

    1. Couldn’t agree more. This is good for F1.

  4. After all this, imagine the scenes if STR end up putting someone else in that seat…

    1. I gotta say, I wouldn’t feel sorry for Albon if they did!

      1. Why not…?

    2. Almost a pity Ticktum doesn’t have the required superlicence points :P

  5. So, it’s very likely bye bye, Hartley, then. I wish he were to remain in F1, but unfortunately, it looks rather unlikely now.

  6. Out of curiosity. Is he able to speak Thai?

  7. Hartley’s been my favourite underdog this year but I think its fair to give Albon a shot now. Would be fun to see Hartley vs Alonso in Indy.

  8. I don’t get what’s in it for him (an F1 seat, obviously). Red Bull is a tough enviroment. They have their drivers they like, and drivers they toss out. He was tossed out. He’s not ‘one of theirs’. Ticktum is laying in wait. It’s the most precarious seat in all of F1. Obviously he’s hoping to impress, and he’s got massive backers (and quite a bit of talent), but really, I think it’s a dangerous move.

    1. A year in a Toro Rosso car is better for his long-term F1 aspirations than a year in FE. Regardless of his future in the RB team, this move is good for him.

    2. probably better then Norris in a Mclaren.

    3. @hahostolze I think @latorres86 and @erikje both make good points. Same as for Hartley: only chance to race (even if for one season) in F1. I think Hartley will have impressed people in the know in motorsport, like indycar, WEC and the like, certainly more than just going to a GT-porche or something for a year. Albon can probably go to FE the year after if it doesn’t work out.

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