Alexander Albon, Max Verstppen, Red Bull, 2019

Red Bull give Albon full season alongside Verstappen for 2020

2020 F1 season

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Red Bull has named Alexander Albon as its second driver for the 2020 F1 season alongside Max Verstappen.

Albon was promoted to the team after the summer break in place of Pierre Gasly, who failed to impress after making his debut for them at the beginning of the season. Red Bull has now rewarded Albon with a full-time seat at the team next year.

“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,” said team principal Christian Horner.

“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.”

It is less than a year since Red Bull made the surprise announcement that Albon would make his F1 debut with Toro Rosso this year. Albon had not yet driven an F1 car at the time and Red Bull had to prise him out of a deal to race for Nissan’s Formula E team to get him in an F1 car. His promotion to Red Bull followed during the summer break.

“I am really excited to be partnering Max again for next year and I know how fortunate I am to be given this opportunity,” said Albon.

“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.”

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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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63 comments on “Red Bull give Albon full season alongside Verstappen for 2020”

  1. Redbull have found their Bottas :)

    1. I don’t think so. With their ex 2nd driver Gasly they lost plenty of potential results and points. Albon is a rookie, learning very fast and provides plenty of ponts (since his debut in a RB he’s won more points than Max, but I’m not saying he’s better than Ver). Red Bull don’t need number 1-2 status currently, as they’re not on the top yet.

      1. Bottas isn’t a number 2 he’s a very talented driver with an exceptional team mate.
        Plus he’s quite mild mannered which helps them work as a team.
        Pretty similar no?

        1. @twentyseven

          Bottas was a one race wonder before Merc. He’s hardly a Raikkonen or Massa who fought for championships on merit, fair and square.

          1. @bigjoe I agree

            However this has nothing to do with my comment:

            Redbull have found their Bottas :)

          2. It was a reply to your 2nd comment; ‘a very talented driver’.
            Strange that you now agree with @bigjoe, as he sees Bottas as a(n ex) ‘one race wonder’ :P

          3. @coldfly

            Ya, Bottas isn’t a number 2 and is very talented. He was a one race wonder pre-Merc and hasn’t competed for a title as per Raikkonen and Massa.

            The general point being that Redbull and Merc are in a similar position with their “star” (non-number 1) drivers. They need a driver good enough to bring home good points for the team but also without an agressive competitive streak to upset their star. Bottas and Albon fit this role perfectly.

          4. Massa & Kimi fought for one championship each in their careers, you talk like they did so every year.

          5. KGN11

            Massa put up a fight in 2007 and 2008 in pretty equal cars to 3 other top drivers.
            Given how highly HAM is regarded, with 07 literally being mentioned every day by his fans. Massa deserves more credit. Certainly more than Bottas so far.

    2. Strange that in their few races together, they are yet to have a straightforward race where we could compare their performance, that is Max and Alex.

      1. What’s to compare though, then Max has a straightforward race he is on another level.

        1. Not in emotional control he isn’t

          1. Yes he is, just in the wrong direction ;)

    3. @twentyseven:

      Redbull have found their Bottas :)

      Indeed that’s what it is. They could have had Alonso to haul in a huge bag of points and push the envelope, but management rather have an easy to handle wingman. Not really bullish is it, but I bet Verstappen is happy about it.

    4. I don’t think this statement is true at all. Albon is never even close to verstappen. Bottas is always right there. If hamilton makes a mistake bottas always ends up ahead. Sometimes bottas just drives better than hamilton. Albon on the other hand has never been even close to verstappen. When merc got bottas he was the best and most promising driver out there. Albon is just an only choice for red bull. They don’t want to get a driver outside from their own driver pool. They can’t even find new drivers for toro rosso.

      I’d like to think that coming to red bull in the middle of the season is very tough job and that reflects poorly on albon who has relatively little experience. And I don’t think albon even has what it takes to be in that red bull on merit. He has not ever won any championships on any level. In reality the only driver red bull wants to keep is verstappen. The rest are just bench warmers and dropped when the next red bull talent is deemed decent enough to get a shot in toro rosso.

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        12th November 2019, 21:43

        Albon is also a rookie thrown into a new car halfway through the season. He’s doing quite decently, but give him some time to mature and I certainly see him contending for podiums or even the occasional win. Albon has got guts, he’s decently quick and he has so far shown himself to be much calmer and controlled than Verstappen, who still can’t resist occasionally shooting himself in the foot.
        He’ll show himself to be decently competative, he’s already doing so.

        Gasly is a GP2 champion and super GT runner-up and he didn’t get anything done with RB. Hulkenberg en Maldonado were GP2 champions. One never got a podium, the other accumulated more penalty points than championship points. Succes in lower classes doesn’t say too much about a driver’s ultimate F1 career. Even Stroll has a junior championship under his belt (european F3). Verstappen hasn’t. One has 7 wins, the other a single podium and we still wonder why

  2. With Red Bull, all this means is he will drive Australia 2020. Rest of the races, it doesn’t guarantee.

    1. Probably will be at least the first stint of flyaways sumedh, don’t be too cautious.

    2. I dont think his seat is under much threat though, since Redbull currently have no better candidates to replace him with. Torro Rosso contains 2 drivers they have already rejected from Redbull. Unless someone else pops up suddenly or a top driver from another team becomes available (I doubt there are many they would consider) then the only way I see Albon losing his seat next year is if he seriously underperforms.

    3. Indeed! Let’s just say “Red Bull have confirmed Albon will start 2020 with them”

  3. Pairing to watch for next year. Good decision and will be even more interesting once Albon starts to compete with Max over one-lap pace.

    Now all Red bull have to do is get the car up to spec to challenge the top two.

  4. Albon must be pinching himself. He was SO close to being relegated to FE.

  5. Well done Alex. Time to shine.

  6. This is quite expected. Albon is not quite Verstappen, but managed to outscore him for a number of races, where he underperformed.

    Part of me still wishes they would get Alonso in their lineup, but hey Alonso messed up his reputation in F1 so bad… Betrayed Mercedes – McLaren, spitted on Renault and shamed Honda. No wonder he now races a Toyota in the desert far far away.

    But for them, this choice is a no-brainier. Max for WDC 2020 or 2021, and someone alongside who can score P2 if their car is good for a win.

    He is also very young and “inexperienced”, both drivers have a long future ahead and are fast.

    1. @jureo An interesting brain ramble!

      I like the Alonso tangent :)

    2. There’s no way they would ever get someone like Alonso. Why do it? why have two nr. 1 drivers? Cause I’m sure that Alonso wouldn’t play nr. 2 to Max…

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        12th November 2019, 12:15

        Alonso would start getting beaten ocasionally and create chaos and mayhem in the team, like he 2007.
        In the worst scenario, he would be outright beaten from the start.

        1. that’s not fair. in 2007 he was only marginally beaten by Hamilton in the standings. also McLaren was clearly biased in favor of Hamilton too

          1. @nickthegreek

            None of the above posters seem to have heard that Toyota and Andretti both dismissed the lies that Alonso messed teams up.
            In fact, not a single driver took his seat and improved the team or even did better than him. Not even Vettel.

        2. José Lopes da Silva

          Fernando is a character. That’s first of all what you have to take and he comes with a huge amount of professionalism, determination, he’s a real racer, you see him jumping in this car and after a short time he was really able to adapt it, to be part of the team and even to add a lot to the team. So he’s fully a 100% race driver. He definitely has his energy to put something in

          1. Against Max he would be beated.

            Max is young, talented, and wouldn’t give an inch. Alonso is past his prime, and although talented he was once more talented than he is now. This is just a fact of getting older, argue though you might.

            If I were Alonso I would turn down the Red Bull seat to avoid looking like Michael Schumacher did to Nico Rosberg. Good, but not as good as he used to be.

    3. @jureo
      “He’s a very professional driver who fitted in very well to our team,” said Leupen of Alonso. “He didn’t want to be special, he understood very quickly that he couldn’t win a WEC race by himself. This was no issue for him, right from our first discussions. He adapted, and enjoyed it. For the team to have somebody like Fernando it’s always nice.”

    4. @Jureo

      Alonso is great at hyping himself, but not fast enough to get a seat in F1 on merit these days, even if he wasn’t a pariah due to his poisonous personality. He’s been fired by McLaren, fired by Ferrari, then fired by McLaren again. Twice throwing away championships when Ferrari had the fastest car didn’t help, but by his second stint at McLaren he was only beating Stoffel by the amount his car was faster, or less.

      Reality is knocking, and it wants to tell you that Alonso is probably the least talented and luckiest world champion ever, and definitely, by a country mile, when it comes to double world champions.

      1. Dave, I wouldn’t say that he was “fired by Ferrari”, as those involved pointed to a much more complex picture where it was more of a mutual decision to part ways as the relationship between both sides changed.

        In particular, it was the arrival of Marchionne that seemed to change things, with some suggesting that Marchionne fired Alonso more for symbolic reasons than anything else – i.e. the main problem with Alonso was that he was associated with Luca di Montezemolo, and Marchionne wanted his driver (Vettel) instead as a way of symbolically breaking with the past.

        That decision might have been driven through by the senior management, but those further down the chain seem to have thought rather differently – it is notable that more than a few of the pit crew were suggesting, in private, that Alonso would have won the 2018 WDC and not made the mistakes that Vettel did (i.e. more than a few suggested that letting Alonso go was the wrong decision to make).

        As for the assertion that he “threw away championships when Ferrari had the fastest car”, I think that you will find few supporters for your assertion that Ferrari had the fastest car at any time during his tenure at the team. After all, Adrian Newey has talked about how the 2010 RB6 was, in his opinion, the car that, pre-2017, produced the most downforce of any car that had ever existed in F1 until that date, suggesting he thought the RB6 was superior to the rest of the field that year. As for 2012, well, the pre-season telemetry data of the F2012 that was leaked shows that car had major technical problems and significant handling problems.

  7. Great, now let’s get George Russell into a competitive car and let the future of F1 play out with Norris, Verstappen, Albon, Leclerc and Russell. And not to mention Stroll, who will probably break the record for most grand prix starts in F1 history given he’s guaranteed that seat for life.

    1. @mashiat Do you reckon if Stroll’s team had Merc like dominance one year they woukd make sure Stroll was WC? Could you imagine that happend haha

      1. dan

        McLaren tried it with HAM

  8. @jureo An interesting brain ramble!

    I like the Alonso tangent :)

  9. I’m happy to hear this. Very good decision imho

  10. Why the poor Gasly’s parents were forbidden to be in the garage with their son, but the rich Albon’s parents and family are allowed by RBR? Is it because Christian Horner and Helmut Marko are a bunch of hacks?

    1. The gossip dept in action

  11. A fully expected and deserved choice, the right decision all things considered. He’s got to keep this level of consistency for next season to stay in the senior team throughout the season, though.

  12. Given his pretty harsh inexperience he’s been very consistent and shown aggression in his overtaking, even on tracks he’s not raced on before. He’s certainly done enough to warrant staying in the Red Bull for a full year, but next year he’s got to start challenging Verstappen a little closer and more regularly. Regardless though he’s looked more comfortable in that car than Gasly ever did. I really hope he does well next year.

  13. Had less races than Gasly and is past him already in the championship he as also kept max honest in 2 quallys. He will neevr outpace Max but 10-15 secs down the road if he get to that level he is good enough as Max is only one of 2 drivers in the top tier.

    1. dan
      Top tier there’s 3 – Leclerc (driver of the season) Verstappen and Hamilton

      1. I agree about Leclerc but his top results from Spa onwards are at least suspicious if they fail again in the next 2 races.

    2. @anunaki @bigjoe

      Here we go again categorizing and grouping. I disagree with it but I’m a sucker for it!

      For me there are more in the top category but some are currently in form and some are not..

      Top tier: Ham, Ver, Vet, Lec, Ric They all run hot and cold.. people would have told you you were crazy to leave Ric out of the top tier at points last year. Or people would have laughed loudly in your face if you placed Ver in the top teir at the start of last year. Ham is going through a God-like period of consitancy at the moment but all the stars are alligning for him.. As they did (for a shorter period) for Vettel in Redbull.

      But yes, Lec has to prove consistency before being exalted to the heady heights of “Racefans member’s Top Tier” ;) But comon!! the kids got it and he’s going to do great things unless he’s super unlucky!

  14. Total no-brainer!
    Congrats, Alexander!

  15. Yeah good move on RBR’s part and way to go AA. I like that they made this official now so that he can have a few races to finish off this season knowing that his seat is secure, which is one very big unknown out of the way for him mentally.

  16. Congratulations to Alex on a no-win situation. He has to watch out for a Marko shiv in the back if he has a couple of bad races, and the apocalypse if he starts beating Max.

    Unpopular take- he’ll be very close to Verstappen on points by the end of 2020. Maybe he’ll get a good seat outside of RBR.

    1. There’s probably about a million drivers who would love a ‘stab’ at an F1 seat, and they would all consider it a win-win for their careers to have ‘F1 driver’ on their resume. And that includes if it launched them to a ‘good seat outside of RBR.’

      Meanwhile, of course there is a likely happy medium between ‘a couple of bad races’ and ‘beating Max.’

  17. Albon is the new Ricciardo for Redbull. A bit slower than max but better at accumulating steady points. Basically the story of Redbull between 2016-2018.

    1. @knightameer You said that on the other Albon topic too. But repeating it does not make it so. See my response to you on the other Albon article.

  18. Vestappen has to step his game up for next year after being soundly beaten by rookie Albon this year. Albon will only get faster.

    1. @david-beau Please detail for us how AA has soundly beaten MV this year.

      1. Here you go!
        https://www.racefans.net/2019/10/28/albon-has-out-scored-verstappen-since-joining-red-bull/

        Albon got the seat mid year, and if someone was to believe the delirium, verstappen is the next Jesus…. so for him to be behind Albon I the points is UNEXCUSEABLE.

        We all know the kid has potential, but he needs to pull his helmet out of his aft!

        Get off the hype train, or own its destination! Wish this site had an ignore button for those who have no link to truthfull reality!

      2. Albon has 30% more points head to head. That’s like Hamilton to Bottas.

        1. Right, so we just ignore his starting from the back in one race with a component penalty, getting punted out of another race by Leclerc, and then having a racing incident with LH that also destroyed a race. So three compromised races since the summer break, and that is what it took for AA to outscore him. Hardly anything that one can consider to mean anything in terms of their performance comparison right?

          So if we are just going to look at numbers only, then where has Albon proved to be a race winner yet like Max has? Only people who don’t like Max would try to put much significance to this 30% stat. AA has proved to be more consistent than Gasly so far, but has everything to prove vs Max when they are both qualifying, and starting and finishing races uncompromised.

          I’m sure when you guys get in the debate about LH losing to NR in 2016 you simply say he lost…end of…right?

  19. Hope he gives max a run for his money.

    I really hope .he can shut him up for good. I like max talent, but cannot tolerate his entitled brat attitude

  20. Albon has certainly been impressive so far but lets see how he is treated. RB do have a driver hierarchy and they will do what ever they need to enforce it. So good luck to Albon if he does turn out to be as competitive as Ricciardo…well he will need to look at moving on to have a shot at the WDC.

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