Who should Red Bull pick to be Verstappen’s team mate in 2021?

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Since Daniel Ricciardo left Red Bull at the end of 2018, the team has struggled to find a replacement who can perform at his level.

In Max Verstappen the team have one of the toughest benchmarks against which a driver can be measured. Pierre Gasly found out how hard last year, when he was dropped by Red Bull after just half a season as Verstappen’s team mate.

Alexander Albon took over Gasly’s place, but more than a year later it’s debatable whether he’d made a solid case for a second full season at Red Bull.

With many seats for next year already occupied, Red Bull have no shortage of options. They could remain committed to Albon, recall one of two of their previous drivers, or even cast the net beyond the junior drivers. Who should they choose as Verstappen’s team mate for the 2021 F1 season?

Alexander Albon

Keeping their current driver would be the most straightforward option. But is Albon showing enough progress? After 19 races – seven more than Gasly started at the team – he is still over a second a lap slower than Verstappen at times in qualifying.

His race form has generally been better, but there have also been occasions when he’s been unable to get the Red Bull back up into the finishing positions it is capable of, as was the case at Sochi last week.

Pierre Gasly

Christian Horner, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has many options
After the difficult circumstances of his ousting from Red Bull, Gasly found his feet again soon after returning to Toro Rosso, finishing on the podium in Brazil. Better things followed this year: His Monza victory was the most eye-catching result, but he has consistently performed well all season.

But how much of that is down to being in a more comfortable environment at AlphaTauri, and having a less sensitive car to drive than the Red Bull? It’s far from certain that simply plugging Gasly back into a Red Bull would produce a significantly better outcome than it did last year.

Daniil Kvyat

Before Gasly, Kvyat was the first driver to be relegated to Toro Rosso from Red Bull. He’s had some solid races this year, but giving him the Red Bull drive over his team mate given Gasly’s results would be a surprising decision.

Sergio Perez

The Racing Point driver has unexpectedly found himself back on the market for 2021 despite signing a three-year contract with his team last year. The opportunity to sign Sebastian Vettel proved too much of a temptation for the team which will become Aston Martin next year.

As well as being a dependable midfield talent, Perez brings substantial backing. Last week’s developments may have made that more attractive to Red Bull: They are set to lose their Honda engine supply after next year, following which they will have to pay for engines.

Nico Hulkenberg

When Perez was forced out of two races due to his positive Covid-19 test, Hulkenberg seized the opportunity to show he still has the potential to take on the front runners given a good enough car. Misfortune ruled him out of the first race, but he followed it up with an excellent third on the grid in his second start.

I say

Verstappen is a rare talent and choosing a driver quick and resilient enough to go up against him is a tough call.

Besides his podium finish at Mugello, Albon was close to top three finishes in Brazil last year and in the season-opener in Austria – a race he might even have won. His qualifying pace hasn’t been at the required level yet, but are any of his potential replacements likely to be a clear step forward in that respect?

I’m not convinced. Red Bull may have been hasty to get rid of Gasly last year, but replacing Albon at this stage could be making the same mistake again. Keeping the faith in him could be the confidence boost he needs.



You say

Who do you think Red Bull should place alongside Verstappen next year? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Who should Red Bull pick to be Max Verstappen's team mate next year?

  • Alexander Albon (25%)
  • Pierre Gasly (6%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (36%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (28%)
  • Someone else (5%)

Total Voters: 354

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Keith Collantine
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103 comments on “Who should Red Bull pick to be Verstappen’s team mate in 2021?”

  1. Perez deserves the chance. An undoubtedly talented driver, he would provide the perfect foil for Verstappen and would most likely be far closer than Alex would be. Beating Hulkenberg is easier said than done, and he was fairly close to Button in ’13, even in an erratic year for him. Gasly is still a little raw, and I don’t think he would benefit from being back at RB. Kvyat has consistently underdelivered for Alpha Tauri, and Hulk is too often in the wrong place at the right time, not always coincidence. Perez is a proven podium finisher, and would be a more than competent driver to join Max.

    1. Hülkenberg is my personal favourite but Perez makes the most sense: he brings money and won’t be slower than Albon.

  2. Verstappen is a huge talent. Putting youngsters against him isn’t good for the youngsters.

    You have to put an experienced driver in the 2nd car. I would go for Hulkenberg.

    1. I agree with SoLiDG. Hulkenberg is the man!

      1. Or Perez for that matter both solid choices but last time this team hired from outside was DC.

    2. I think they’ve realised they have to fix the car. Lewis started off setting up his car all on the nose, then he found out that although he could drive it, and it felt good, it wasn’t the fastest way to have the car.

      Red Bull have been saying more or less this, so I think they might as well stay with Alex, gather the data, and bring the car to him. None of the midfield drivers can handle it either, probably. It’s been the same with Charles too, and it was the same with Schumi, that a car that’s too pointy for anyone else to drive isn’t ideal just because those extra-ordinary drivers liked it. The Mercedes is the fastest car after all, and both Lewis and Valtteri can drive it.

    3. @solidg the question has to be this – what exactly does Red Bull want their second driver to do in the short term, and what will be their long term development plans too?

      One thing we can be reasonably certain of now is that the chances of Tsunoda being given a seat at either Red Bull or Toro Rosso has declined markedly, which then plays into their wider driver junior team programme and the current lack of drivers who are ready to be promoted into F1 as possible candidates.

      If Red Bull want to stick to their policy of only recruiting from within, Vips is the only driver in their junior team they have who currently definitely can set a superlicence – but only if he applies by the end of this year.

      That would push Red Bull towards having to keep the trio of Gasly, Albon and Kvyat, which is probably to albon’s favour. Whilst a possible option is to reverse their decision to switch Gasly and Albon around, their public comments suggest that is unlikely to happen – furthermore, Marko’s indicated it would not be a popular move with the Thai co-owners of Red Bull, meaning Albon probably would hold the seat by default.

      If Red Bull do relax their criteria and Perez and Hulkenberg do become options, their greater experience could be useful when it comes to items such as car development and set up configuration. However, how long will Red Bull want them in the team if their long term goal is to find a long term candidate from their junior programme? Do you want them there for a couple of years to provide longer term development support, or not?

      With the uncertainty over their potential candidates in their junior team right now, it creates uncertainty about Red Bull’s longer term driver recruitment and development objectives and whether Perez or Hulkenberg are the right candidates – particularly since it would be unclear how long you’d then want that potential driver onboard for.

      It also means that it’s really unclear what exactly Red Bull particularly want a potential team mate to Verstappen to actually do – not just in terms of sporting achievements, but also to satisfy the wider commercial and political factions within Red Bull too.

      The past comments from Red Bull have suggested that they place a fairly large emphasis on internal recruitment, so I suspect that the senior management of Red Bull would not allow Perez or Hulkenberg to be picked given it’d cause problems with their junior team – irrespective of what the racing team might think.

      That suggests it’s probably down to the incumbent trio of Albon, Kvyat and Gasly as the main options. Kvyat is the least likely of the trio – I suspect Red Bull would find it difficult to explain such a decision to the public – so a possible Gasly-Albon switch might be the most likely option.

      However, that would still be awkward for Red Bull to justify in public and a potential disruption at a time when the team might not want additional challenges. My gut feeling is that the combination of internal politics, commercial pressures and political factions, combined with the external pressures on the team, will result in Red Bull taking the most risk adverse approach and keeping Albon, Gasly and Kvyat exactly where they are.

    4. @solidg

      Agree with your reasoning. Max isn’t a rookie or sophomore. He’s completing his 6th season in F1, so he’s an experienced and fast driver. Gasly and Albon are way too inexperienced to start matching up to Verstappen’s level anytime soon, and they’ll always be on the back foot. So the best teammate for Verstappen would be someone with the same number of years, or probably a few more years of experience than he does.

      If the decision is down to Hulk or Perez, I would choose the Hulk. They might be similar in terms of performance, but the Hulk seems like an easier teammate to handle. Hulk won’t be disrupting the team environment if Max has the better of him, as compared to Perez, who seems entirely capable of throwing his toys out of the pram and tangling with his teammate as he did at Force India.

    5. I agree with your reasoning that an experienced teammate is needed (I had a little smile when you described Albon and Gasly as youngsters, when both are older then Verstappen).

      And while I really like Hulkenberg (and I would love to see him get a podium), I would rather chose Perez. They’re about equal on F1 experience, but I think RedBull needs to look at the years after 2021: They might cover themselves in case Verstappen walks out the door. Hulkenberg will be 34 when the 2022 season starts, and Perez 32.

      I would get Verstappen en Perez in the RedBull in 2021 and pair Gasly and Albon in the AlphaTauri. Then use 2021 to evaluate who would get the promotion back to RB in 2022 in case Verstappen walks. If he doesn’t then they would have a pretty decent pairing in both teams.

    6. The only drivers in formula 1 who are capable of giving Max a race are Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc. All the other drivers who dare to wish to be Max team mate will surely be dismissed the way Gasly and Albon have.

      1. I think both Ricciardo and Perez would challenge Verstappen.

  3. I voted for Perez, just. He would I believe bring financial backing to the team. Then I think he is likely to overall be faster and more consistent than any of the other options. He could really be the one to make sure there are two Red Bull cars in the race.

    Second choice though would be to stick with Albon.

  4. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    4th October 2020, 18:23

    Although I think Perez is one of the most under-rated drivers in current F1, and he deserves a drive in a (sub) top team, I would hesitate ‘ruining’ Albon’s career by bumping him out of RBR so soon.

    But on the other hand: see what happend to Gasly when he was relegated back to Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri. If Albon would make a similar step up when has to return to TR/AT, Red Bull would have a seriously strong pair of back up drivers in Gasly and Albon in 1-2 years time. And they need strong back ups because with Honda leaving, there may well come a day when they need to replace Verstappen at RBR.

    Conclusion: Get Perez in the second RBR, let Gasly en Albon grow at AT, so one of them can replace Verstappen when he leaves at the end of 2021.

    1. This. +1
      My only one concern is Helmut Marko. Sometimes he don’t do the logical steps.

      1. Agree with both of you.

        1. It’s worth questioning where Yuki Tsunoda comes into all of this. He is a Honda driver, and also a RB junior driver, but I’m not sure if this was only due to the partnership with Honda, and whether RB would still want him after Honda quit.

          I suppose a lot could depend on whether Tsunonda gets a seat at Alphatauri next year, as was originally believed to be the plan

          1. *Tsunoda

        2. Another + 1
          If RB really wants to see Honda off with a WCC trophy, then they will need a strong second driver.
          Hulk is great and I really like the guy, but he doesn’t have the winning (or podium) touch. Perez does.
          A one year deal with Perez will put them in a position to go through this all again next year, but hopefully with some hardware in the show-case.

      2. Helmut Marko is the weakest link in the team

  5. Will Verstappen be in a RB next year?

    Instead of paying EUR 120mln for a 3 year contract to Hamilton, Merc should trade Verstappen out of his 1 year contract (breakup clause end of ’21) for RB to use Merc engines from ’22 onwards. And Verstappen wouldn’t mind a lowball salary to be in a winning car. Would be win-win.

    1. True, except Lewis is just still to good.

      1. But increasingly expensive. And getting the same for a lot less ( and more years to come) is interesting for Merc.

        1. Indeed, half the current grid could have easily racked up those Merc championships like Louis.

          Plus having a cheaper option like Verstappen would give Mercs brand a much needed funky and energetic image over Hams quite frankly long in the tooth and boring one.

          Verstappens huge fanbase wouldn’t hurt either!

          1. Half the grid like who then? Vettel who keeps spinning? He trhrew away 2018 and 2017. Or Leclerc who keeps alternating between disappointing and setting a decent result? both throwing away the 2019 season together

          2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            5th October 2020, 18:36

            @timmy half the grid could have if Lewis was not in the other car! He’s only been beaten by a team mate in 2 of 14 seasons, and one of those he owned his team mate second half. There’s a reason for those numbers. It’s not just the car.

        2. If the money was an issue then they would have let him go long time ago. But with Lewis Merc gets more benefit than the salary they are paying (marketing, etc). Most top teams need a TOP name driver for the seat to be able to promote their cars and improve the image. Verstappen would be a good fit soon (especially after he becomes a WC). But until then (or Lewis retires) why break something which is working fine?!

    2. I don’t see Mercedes engines being worth that much more over Verstappen to Red Bull. The Italian and Tuscan GPs showed us that the performance gap between the engines (bar Ferrari) is quite small now.

      But that’s certainly a development I’d love to see

  6. Voted for Perez too, I think he will be better able to adapt to the RB16 than the Hulk. The extra funding works in his favour too of course.

  7. I voted for Albon. In the end, maybe best to let him stay and get more experience there than potentially demoralize him by demoting him to AT.

    1. Pérez. They have said the car is twitchy and that Verstappen can drive a bad car but they need a smooth driver with Perez’s skill to help develop the car, he is also safe, a good points scorer and massively underrated. Albon is good but I think he needs more time to develop in the B-team. Plus, with the Honda development who is to say that verstappen will stay? For me Perez is definitely the experienced driver which RB need, like DC back in 2005

    2. Wasn’t meant as a reply to you

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      5th October 2020, 11:00

      Good choice, but I would go for Olivier Panis

  8. Ideally Perez, but we all know it’s not going to happen. Red Bull’s incompetence in their driver question is quite striking.

  9. Because Verstappen is going to be at RBR for a second engine supplier change, right?

  10. Verstappen is going to make anyone on the grid look silly.

    1. There’s fourteen world championship titles on the grid next year (assuming Kimi signs). Verstappen has none.

      I doubt it.

      1. None of them was already a world champion at his age. He can still become the youngest (mathematically).
        It is not his fault that the Mercedes produces more HP.

        1. @Bart – his age or the fact he could win a WDC next year (I think most would agree the odds aren’t favourable) wasn’t what I was contending, so I’m not sure why you mentioned it. Bondo’s saying VER will make the whole grid look silly which is an utter insult to the career records of HAM, RAI, ALO and VET.

        2. Mathematically, a lot of drivers could still be WDC this year.

          However, even if Verstappen won all the remaining races (with fastest laps), Hamilton would still be champion by collecting one second and six third places. Tom Cruise might be able to manage it, but Verstappen won’t.

          His and Red Bull’s dream of making him the youngest ever WDC isn’t happening. Verstappen knows it.

        3. They did have a WDC within their first 6 seasons though.

          1. the right car/engine combo helps..
            Untill next year? , thats not the case for Verstappen.
            He is great but you still need a car able to finish.
            As you should know by now: to finish first you first have to finish.
            3 Honda retirements does not help there ;)

      2. so even more impressive if they are made look silly ;)

    2. Bondo

      He is quite capable of making himself look silly at times.

      As for making the others?

      Well your Bondo and if in 116 races in the second and sometimes bst car on the grid has yet to yield such results, I doubt it.

      Your obsession with degrading LH is well known but You might look at his stats at 116 races. Or better yet that old man Jim Clark.

      Youth is frequently much over rated

  11. Perez. Albon back to AlphaTauri alongside Gasly.

  12. By the way, it’s interesting that so many people are concerned about Albon’s career, especially after quite a distasteful dealing with Gasly which many fans encouraged. Sure, Alex is a nice lad and I wish him all the best, but he can’t provide the necessary back-up for Red Bull right now and I doubt he will be, given the team won’t acknowledge a fundamental flaw in their design (a McLaren syndrome). Red Bull needs another Ricciardo with tons of experience to help them with proper setups and chassis development, not a practical rookie, becuase this shouldn’t be a seat you experiment with. While Albon’s poorer performances aren’t exactly his fault, compared to the situation with Gasly it seems a bit like favouritism. The support for him won’t translate into less mistakes related to their driver question, only to the complete ignorance of their aerodynamic and structural issues.

  13. I voted for Albon, but with some caveats: RBR should wait until the last few races to see how or if he improves. If there are still races with huge gaps to Verstappen, it’s time to show him the door and bring in Perez.

    1. Voted MAG. Full racer no nonsense guy, best starter on grid, never whine or give up.

      1. Interesting choice. Could well be a fit, but not sure it would be much of an improvement over Albon, although Albon is woefully slow atm.

      2. I’ve never though about MAG at RB. He wouldn’t be my choice but I’d love to see it!

        He has the pointiest elbows in F1 and would certainly spice things up!

  14. A team-mate to a genuine elite driver like Verstappen needs to be someone who can take the mental hit of accepting their team-mate is someone who can do things with the car that they can’t. A guy who could be a few tenths quicker even if you did your optimal lap.

    Gasly never struck me as someone like that and his performances at the team suggested he couldn’t do fill role… and as much as I like Albon he’s just too far behind. Don’t know if it’s because neither had enough development time, or something else, but throwing in inexperienced drivers doesn’t seem to be working.

    Purely on a performance point of view, I’d run Albon & Gasly at Alpha Tauri and go with Hulkenberg or Perez in the second Red Bull. It might be bad for Albon’s confidence (although, one could argue that being repeatedly battered by Verstappen is probably worse) but I think either Perez or Hulkenberg would score more points and be closer to Verstappen.

    But then, Red Bull doesn’t do outside drivers. Taking into account the team ‘approach’ of sticking with its own talent, leaving Albon in there is probably the least-worst option.

  15. I’d go for the other driver out of contract, Lewis. I want to know who’s the best overall between the two stars of current F1.

    Also RBR should move to Mercedes power from next year to merge the best PU with the smartest aerodynamic genius.

    1. @coldfly Honda will still be around next year, so from 2022, but that’d only happen if they could somehow convince Williams to leave Mercedes power for Renault (or Ferrari) power or if Mercedes remains in F1 as a PU-supplier only from 2022. Neither of these two is likely to happen, though, so I don’t count on them a lot.

    2. Ham would never dare!

    3. @coldfly In a perfect world perhaps.

  16. Alonso!
    Move Gasly to Alpine and Albon to Alpha Tauri. Although I think both Perez and Hulkenberg deserve a drive that’ll put them in Q3.

  17. Kimi.
    He knows what he’s doing.

    1. Kimi! Kimi! Kimi!

      He likes a pointy car like Max, so they can develop it in a common direction.

      Good for speed, good for the team, great for marketing.

      1. All the right reasons.

  18. Of the options listed, it’s Perez.

  19. To me it seems a no-brainer to take Perez. Quick and reliable and a great racer, plus welcome extra funding for the post-Honda era. Albon I’m sure will be good but it’s not the right stage of his career to be in the position he is in.

  20. Obviously Alonso, but that boat has left.

    Perez is the obvious choice of the remaining, but Marko is way too invested in his young driver program to ever think of anyone else.

  21. Nobody is capable of emulating verstappens style, closests leclerc and ricciardo.

    1. Max is one of a kind right now. I’d like to see him on a Merc.

      1. *in* a Merc. Because *on* a Merc is illegal. My fingers no longer accept all of my brain’s instructions.

  22. I like Hulk and wish he was still in the game, but I had to snigger when he replaced Sergio because he ended up in the spot he’s owned for a while: 7th.

  23. Are the torro rosso drivers obligated to take the red bull seat if called on to do so? I suspect so, but that second seat is the kiss of death and both should decline it and hope for a seat rlsewhere in 2021.

    There seems to be an opinion in the paddock that red bull are putting all their best resources into max’s car. Thus the second seat is not a good choice for a driver who wants the glory and the accolades. Thus out of the offered options id go Kvyat cause he prolly wont stay in F1 very long anyway.

  24. This is actually pretty difficult to answer…the second Red Bull car never really worked for anybody, and arguably, it was Kvyat who’s done the best job there…but I don’t believe he is really being considered anymore. Red Bull hardly need a more seasoned driver to guide the still very young Verstappen, so Pérez or Hülkenberg really do not make much sense. They are probably best off to keep things stable…but at the same time, Albon needs to pick up his game and be consistent top-five finisher.

  25. Hulk. Red Bull need 2 great drivers. Mercedes can afford the luxury of an A and a B driver as both cars qualify at the top and finish on the podium. The other teams are competing amongst themselves and Red Bull would have the edge with 2 great drivers.

    1. @jimfromus Mercedes have 2 great drivers though. Which is one reason why they are so consistently good.

      With Red Bull it’s just Verstappen and he sometimes gets lost in setting up the car. Like Hungary and Monza where they were suddenly a second off the pace. If you have two great drivers you have more chance that at least one of them finds a good setup.

      Plus it gives extra input for developing the car. Something which is also clearly going much better at Mercedes than Red Bull too.

  26. I think red bull should have tried to get either alonso or vettel. Perez is a decent option as well but while quick it is doubtful whether he can put pressure on verstappen. Chances are perez will be out after one season just like all the others have been.

    What red bull needs now most of all is an established and fast driver at red bull. A fast driver who can sometimes beat verstappen and also put pressure on verstappen. Someone who doesn’t need to care what marko says about him. A driver who can do 2-4 years. Red bull don’t have any huge promising talents ready to jump into the red bull in near future.

    Max is still somewhat unpolished and stiff inter team competition would do him good. Now when eventually red bull makes a championship contender car max will have to learn very quickly to drive under enormous championship pressures in every weekend in every session. Having a fast team keeping him at check and never letting him get off easy would make him even faster and more consistent. And would teach him how to handle pressure. And would allow him to learn from them. Now max can sort of do as he wants and when he does badly he doesn’t get the criticism he deserves which can make him too comfortable. Even at his worst he can still easily beat albon.

    Sadly those good driver opportunities are gone. Red bull doesn’t have any good options left. Perez is a decent option but not a world beater. Plus the red bull motorhome needs some dirty air laundry sooner rather than later. There are too many egos and it seems everybody is a bit too comfortable being where they are now.

    1. @socksolid

      I agree, Red Bull need a solid driver in the second car to bring home the points. Right now, they’re quite secure in second, but this can change if Ferrari (IF), Mclaren and Renault improve next season, both teams with drivers consistently scoring points.

      Alonso wouldn’t work at RB for multiple reasons. I think Vettel should have been a serious consideration, but if history has proven one thing, he does not perform well when faced with a faster (and younger) teammate. I like Albon, all round likeable guy who is quick and isn’t afraid of going wheel to wheel. He is certainly got a lot of talent which should be allowed to develop further. However, RBR are at the point end of the grid, and they need drivers who can deliver now. I believe that they’re affording Albon more time due to the fact that they are quite insulated in second place, but this will not remain the case next season.

      The obvious choices here are Perez and Hulk. Both experienced drivers, steady hands who will bring home good points every Sunday and can help develop the car as well. Neither will set the world alight, RB have Max for that. Like many, I chose Perez because of the extra funding he will bring, but if thats not a concern, I’d go with Hulk. I think Hulk is a better all round driver.

  27. Perez is massively talented.

    1. Paul Villanueva
      7th October 2020, 15:52

      I would say massively underrated and one of the most consistent drivers on the grid

  28. Maybe they should focus on the car instead of worrying about Albon. It’s clearly got an issue.

    I suspect if they sort that out, we’d find max closer to Hamilton and the Mercs and their second driver much closer to Max.

    The days of RBR being the best in aero seem to have long gone unfortunately.

    1. “ I suspect if they sort that out, we’d find max closer to Hamilton and the Mercs and their second driver much closer to Max.”

      And Honda would not be leaving!

      Even though Redbull have done a better Job than Mclaren with Honda I still brleive it’s car manufacturer stopping them matching Merc not Honda!! And it’s team (newy) arrogance thats behind it – they need Mercs approach that has no arrogance and only desire to improve everystep!

    2. @dbradock From what Horner has said of Albon, you can’t separate the car from Albon though. By all accounts the car is a handful for AA on low fuel (I’m sure it’s more difficult for Max too, just less so). Horner has said AA and his crew continue to try to solve their issue with the car and that will go hand in hand with seeing AA starting races on average higher up the grid than he has. AA does far better in races but it is the low starting positions and the resultant traffic that is a big issue. If they can sort out the car on low fuel settings I’m sure both AA and Max will be happier.

      As to RBR and their ‘best in aero’ reputation that you now question, I would say that some of that comes down to them not being a works team, let alone one that has had a solid relationship with one pu maker in the hybrid era. We all know how it went with Renault, and the switch to Honda has barely gotten going at least compared to teams like Mercedes and Ferrari who have done everything in-house all along.

      I would say give RBR the same long run, in-house, as Mercedes and Ferrari have enjoyed that this hybrid chapter has brought as a necessary ingredient, which is shown by only one factory team being able to do it, and the only other one only coming close for a few half-seasons, and RBR wouldn’t be considered to have faltered on the aero side. RBR/Newey have done incredibly well considering the poor Renault pu they had and the short run they’ve had with Honda, which admittedly was at least closer to a works factory setting than with Renault, but still not akin to Mercedes and Ferrari. A bit more gelling of pu to chassis and a bit more hp, and I think you’d have no doubt about RBR/Newey and their aero work.

  29. I’d stick with Albon. He races well, he’s a nice chap and he is marketable. He has made Red Bull a far more likeable team for me to be honest. He is an honest, relatable guy.

    His qualifying pace, the only real thing going against him, will improve of that I have no doubt. If Red Bull, F1 fans and the world’s media are expecting anyone to be at Verstappen’s level in qualifying they are being a bit naïve really. Verstappen is a once in a generation talent, the sort of driver who makes a good driver in the same car look ordinary. It reminds me of Briatore getting rid of Brundle at the end of 1992 because he had no idea how special Schumacher was.

    Albon needs time and I’m glad Red Bull seem to have acknowledged that.

    1. Unfortunately Albon is struggling something dreadful.

      1. I believe any of the other drivers on that list would struggle in the RB16 as well. Just because a freakish talent like Verstappen can get his head around it doesn’t mean another driver will be able to.

  30. Obviously Perez is the best driver listed in the option. But I don’t think it would be much better improvement anyway. So why bother?

  31. One year contract for Perez.

    Albon and Gasly at Alpha Tauri.

    Too bad for Kvyat.

  32. Isn’t the bigger question where will VER go in 2022…..

    I think the team will take Perez and demote Albon.

    They need Perez for some in-depth experience in developing a car. VER is super quick but believe he still lacks in car development and his direction has made a car as edgy as his driving. I would compare him to marc marez at Honda and how their bike has been unridable for last 3/4 seasons for everyone bar him!

    If they want to bag the constructors title and the WDC they need-to change tact in driver choice.

  33. I would happily see a Verstappen, Alonso pairing, that would help pricing in Verstappen a bit more. But I agree he must be very talented, and I think he improved in the last few seasons too. I’m not sure whether the current RB car completely fits his taste, I guess it’s not a design that they are satisfied with, so I consider it as a slightly failed build with some malign attributes like that snappiness even at slow speeds.

    Probably Albon lost some of his trust in the car at that big Silverstone crash, or that was the first time he faced a real F1 crash by himself. Before that he was quite good, and there were no such 1s gaps to Verstappen at qualy. I know Albons season is more compromised than Verstappen’s, Albon was used to try out tyre compounds at some races, and had quite frequent engine, gearbox and similar replacements resulting in a grid penalty. And then we have seen how even the Mercedeses operating much less well in the pack or in dirty air. Despite of even 0.5s is too much as a regular gap to teammate at qualy, at the current power rankings they don’t loose too much. But luckily most of the teams not intend to recreate teammate wars like Prost vs Senna by signing a top runner while having another world class driver. They learnt the lessons about it and today’s world is just quite optimized, so we will not see things like that pairing too often, that would be a quite pricy firework.

    Probably a slightly lucky Verstappen could take the 2nd position at the final rankings from a slightly unlucky Bottas if he’s well supported by a teammate (that would require the teammate running around 3th-6th-7th positions to interact frequently). I guess Ferrari will not challenge them next year too, Racing Point will decline a bit if they can’t develop the car too much, because obviously they can’t do another copy job for next season and get away with that again :), while McLaren even can have design problems around fitting the Merc engine in so the switch can’t be considered as an unconditionally positive event for them in the short term. So RB can do that they want in the short term.

    I would fire Kvyat, sorry Russian fans but even if he was unlucky he not redeemed the world in the last few seasons. You will have Shwartzman instead of him soon, I would like to see him very much in F1. Although there are other drivers who should be outside F1, and keeping Kvyat instead of them would be a quality decision, but this not works that way.
    Instead of Kvyat I would bring Tsunoda on, and give him a season because he seems really fast, brave, and natural born talent. We should see him at least for a season. If they want to be funny let’s bring Tsunoda straight up to RB, and then they can play their promotion-demotion “game” again or at least troll Albon and Gasly.
    Or if they want short terms results let’s sign Perez, because his experience and skill is likely and currently a better package than Gasly and Albon has. Perez will be around his prime for some years from now on likely. (Especially if we consider Alonso’s comeback,and the age difference of the two :P)

    Or let’s buy out Shwartzman or Ilott or even Schumacher for a good amount of money as FDA currently has a bit too much drivers to promote, and have him as an Alpha Tauri rookie. (And at the rate F1 brings back “retirees” like Alonso, and keeps the likes of Grosjean or Giovinazzi, it’s very likely that there will be not enough room to promote even the bests form F2 not to mention promoting all three. I’m awaiting Alonso back, because of his raw skill, his “funny radio messages”, but it might turn out that he not aged well, and the other point is, that he had such a nice and beautiful on-tack-farewell at his last GP’s end by Hamilton and Vettel, that it would be hard to have even a similar one).

    Suprisingly this time the standing of the votes is almost what I think, the results are not biased or extreme. I have never voted, because I just hate to take time for registration processes, so I not register to basically anywhere. Although the site is cool, so If I would have more than dimes I would become a supporter for sure. I guess at many polls the distortion or biasedness of the result comes from the type/method of the poll, because that’s some kind of “winner takes all” (so there is only one selectable option). I guess an “allow people to choose multiple options from multiple” or “you can choose some options from multiple and rank them, so the outcome will be a score” would produce more expressive results, especially around the lower ranked competitors.

  34. And I forgot, that desipte of everything Albon is still just 1 point away from the championsips 4th place. In on aspect he could easily have and hold that place with some luck. In an other Racing Points not had their extremely good results behind him yet, Norris was not extremely lucky in the last quite many GP’s, Ricciardo still not scored that podium, and they are all close, if the season went this way they can even beat him, without making me to consider Albon much less as a driver. Previous year he was 4 points away from beating Sainz for the “Best of the midfield” title, so not that bad, despite of Albon seems to lack any kind of good runs (of luck) in his first two seasons. Just that avg qualy gap seems quite impossible. Probably the gap is mostly due to Verstappen’s extreme talent, ha maybe grew to be a maneater (funny expression nowadays, I have just seen it in a nice turn based stategy game yesterday :)) by this time.

  35. José Lopes da Silva
    5th October 2020, 11:02

    Albon will keep the place because he partially owns it. Unlike Gasly.

  36. I think they should stick with Albon.

    1. I think sticking to Albon will mean 4th or 5th in Constructors Championship next year.

  37. No opinion for me until Verstappen gets sold.

  38. Keith: Besides his podium finish at Mugello, Albon was close to top three finishes in Brazil last year and in the season-opener in Austria – a race he might even have won. His qualifying pace hasn’t been at the required level yet, but are any of his potential replacements likely to be a clear step forward in that respect?

    You do note that both other podium chances came after late SC’s with favourable tactics? He bottled both of them. Yes, Hamilton got punished in Brazil, but you don’t open the door like that on someone in a Mercedes. It was quite similar to Bottas vs Verstappen in Mexico. Bottas leaving the door open, not expecting an attack was quite similar to Albon not expecting Hamilton to attack.

    In Austria the same. He had such an advantage he could have waited a few corners.

    Albon is heralded for his overtakes, but if you look closer, a lot of them have paint swapping involved. Vs a McLaren in Japan for instance. Or the nudge he gave Magnussen in England. Both Hamilton clashes fit also in that category. I think he is quite scrappy and Verstappen was grinded back in the day if he had such incidents. In the end, Albon is qualifying lower than Gasly. He needs to overtake more to get the RB in the points. As a rule of thumb, he loses twice the qualy gap to Verstappen in race pace.

    I see more Russia’s happening than Mugello’s to be honest. Ferrari will bring updates.
    What will be in front of Albon most of the time?
    1 Mercedes
    2 Mercedes
    3 Verstappen
    4 McLaren
    5 Racing Point
    6 Renault
    7 Ferrari
    8 McLaren
    9 Racing Point
    10 Renault
    11 Alpha Tauri
    12 Albon

    If Vettel and Kvyat get their act together it could mean Albon fighting for 14th!

  39. Out of all drivers mentioned Kvyat did best at Red Bull and scored podiums on merit not on luck like Albon…

  40. Jack (@jackisthestig)
    5th October 2020, 15:27

    Perez or Hulkenberg. Nobody gains anything from having Gasly or Albon underperforming with their confidence shot to bits.

  41. KMAG!
    He would be a fantastic driver in the RB….

  42. In my opinion Perez is the guy because he’s been the only driver to be behind the BIG 3 for 6 consecutive years great points for the team and podiums + the 20 millions that comes with him won’t be bad for RB

  43. You know Alex can hear all this?
    Though he was doing fine till all the talk started.
    It’s killing the poor chap!

  44. At the end of 2020 Albon will have 1.5 seasons with redbull but if he continues like this there will be no progress at all.
    The last gp was at least disappointing in terms of race pace. On the other hand 2020 and 2021 are a sure 2nd position in the WCC with any driver next to Max for red bull so why should they make any changes?

  45. Hulkenberg and it not close.

    You need the fastest driver to be the no2 but also a back up plan in case Max leaves suddenly for a faster car. Hulk led the Renault team before Ricciardo joined was fast and competitive against the Australian who is comparable to Max in pace so you’d expect so you have a comparison on how the pace would be and it show Hulkenberg as a solid no2. Lock him up for 2 years. Max and Hulk 21/22

    Alpha Tauri in 21 should be Gasly and Albon a shoot out for the 22 drive with Tsnoda or the next Red Bull hot shoe to come through then by 23 if there lucky enough to keep Max and be competitive they can review there position.

    1. There is no evidence in recent times that Hulkenberg is better than Perez. Perez has scored almost 100 more points than Hulkenberg 2016-2019 and he is currently beating Albon, with 2 less races and in a worse car. Nico is also 3 years older and does not bring anywhere close to the sponsorship money that Perez does.

      Its not close

  46. Perez is the only sensible option.

    Honda leaving changes everything. RB will not be competing with Merc next year and their focus is getting ready for the changes in 2022. They have 2 main questions regarding their drivers that they must answer next year. 1. Are the dissapointing performances of their #2 for the last two years due to inexperience or something else 2. What happens if Max leaves in 2022 (which he might because of the departure of Honda).

    Perez helps answer both of these questions. He is the best available driver with the most experience and consistency in the midfield. If Max leaves, Perez is just 30 (Nico 34) and would help bridge the gap between the next two years and the future. Tsunoda will now not get a seat because of Honda leaving and Gasly and Albon can fight it out in Alpha Tauri for that last spot.

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