Albon has two races to show he deserves 2021 Red Bull drive

2020 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Red Bull is prepared to look beyond its talent pool to bring in a replacement for Alexander Albon for the 2021 F1 season if he doesn’t raise his game in the next two races, says team principal Christian Horner.

Albon is the team’s preferred choice to partner Max Verstappen next year, but Horner said he must demonstrate a higher level of performance this weekend and at next week’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to guarantee his place at the team.

“We want Alex to claim that seat and basically justify that there is no need to look at any other alternative than Alex,” said Horner. “I think everybody in the team wants to see him do that.

“It felt like in Mugello he was starting to turn the corner and so on. He’s had a couple of difficult weekends, so he needs to bounce back here I think and particularly Imola with a strong weekend from start to finish. So that’s our focus, that’s our objective.”

Albon has scored 64 of the team’s 211 points so far this year. “He’s a popular member of the team but we need two cars closer together in order to fight the Mercedes,” said Horner. “And that’s what we’ve got to do, that’s our target.”

Poll: Who should Red Bull pick to be Verstappen’s team mate in 2021?
Horner confirmed Red Bull would not look to promote AlphaTauri drivers Pierre Gasly or Daniil Kvyat – both of which have previously driven for them – in place of Albon.

“I think AlphaTauri are pretty settled with their drivers. So as I say our preference is very much Alex. But if we had a look at a different solution, then obviously we would have to look outside of the Red Bull pool of drivers simply because there is not one available that we would look to put in. There’s some quality drivers, obviously, on the market, that could be unemployed for next year.”

Several experienced F1 drivers are on the market for next season including Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, the team’s substitute driver Nico Hulkenberg and Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

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35 comments on “Albon has two races to show he deserves 2021 Red Bull drive”

  1. No pressure then.

  2. Of course this is putting more pressure in him.
    But performing under pressure is exactly what they are looking for.

    The mention of two races is interesting. It seems that they consider contracting an experienced driver before he is being picked up by the competition.

    1. It’s same as what Franz Tost revealed after Gasly won at Monza, in terms of their decision timeline so it’s just consistent with that.

      “The driver question will come up with Red Bull at the end of October, beginning of November,” Tost told Sky Sports F1.

      1. @t1redmonkey Although, yesterday he implied that the decision regarding his team would come after the season has ended. Time will tell, I guess.

  3. So the Turkish GP isn’t included anymore. BTW, I doubt either Magnussen and even less so Grosjean would become candidates alongside Hulkenberg and Perez. I still think the 2nd RBR is going to be down between Albon, HUL, and PER.

    1. Magnussen and Verstappen would be a fantastic combo!

  4. Well…. Goodbye Alex.

  5. I really feel in my gut that Hulkenburg will be there next season. Perez will be at Haas or Williams, if he goes to Williams then I imagine they don’t need Latifi money

    1. Hulkenberg and perez are both unlucky drivers when it comes to getting a top seat and are both deserving of at least a year in a top team and see how they perform, considering they’re some of the best midfield drivers and have been in f1 for a long time, so I’m very happy they’re finally considering getting someone from outside the red bull academy cause that’s what they need to do.

  6. So that’s Albon out then.

    1. @blazzz Yep looks that way.

  7. I’m expecting Red Bull to snag Pérez, frankly. People keep banging on about Hülkenberg but, as much as I like him, Sergio has podiums to his name. Eight to be exact. Nico meanwhile, does not. And whilst he has certainly been unlucky, he has thrown away a few potential podiums all by himself as well. So he’s less proven than Checo. And Red Bull want as proven driver as they can possibly get their hands on, in order to back up Verstappen.

    Albon meanwhile, may find his entire career in jeopardy. It all depends on how dedicated Red Bull are to giving Yuki Tsunoda a shot. Daniil Kvyat is surely a goner at this point, so that would open up one seat at Alpha Tauri. However Pierre Gasly’s seat is surely safe, given his Monza victory, and other impressive performances this season. So if Red Bull decide to give the second seat to Yuki Tsunoda, maybe as a bargaining chip to Honda for allowing them to take over their engine program, then I struggle to see where else Alex could go.

  8. In the poll a week or two ago I went for Perez as first choice for RBR and Albon second. I think Hulk would be equally up to the job though.

    I don’t think Albon is ever going to be up to the standard of Verstappen. It depends what RBR are trying to achieve and how quickly. If they want to boost their challenge to Merc quickly then one of the more experienced drivers might be best.

    They are really piling the pressure on Albon with public statements like this though. I don’t really see how it will help think it could be counter productive.

  9. I like Red Bull, and so far I had really liked them being supportive of Albon as it was different to how cutthroat they treated Gasly, and arguably Kvyat. Burning through drivers emotionally and mentally just didn’t seem like they were treating them particularly well. But here we are again. They take young, inexperienced drivers and expect them to perform immediately at top drawer level, and that’s a huge amount of pressure and expectation and clearly Red Bull don’t know how to handle or help the driver cope with it.

    I don’t think Red Bull know how to manage two drivers very well, or help an underperforming or not confident one – unless you give them exactly what they want they’ll just replace you and that’s not good for job security or feeling like the team is behind you when they’re sat on the pitwall sharpening their knives. Looking at Gasly at Red Bull vs AlphaTauri, the B team knows how to get the best out of its drivers while Red Bull clearly don’t. That second Red Bull’s a poisoned chalice.

    1. Let’s be honest- F1 is a cut throat business. Hamilton was chucked into the deep end with a formidable challenger in 2007- rose to the challenge. Leclerc was put into what is potentially the most unrealistic team (expectation wise) in Ferrari and he stepped up to the challenge. Ricciardo was chucked into Red Bull with a then formidable Vettel- he rose to the challenge. Verstappen was chucked into the deep end at 17- he rose to the challenge. Kyvat looked promising, especially after he beat Ricciardo but then tailed off. Not saying you will get special drivers like this all the time but clearly Alex and Gasly are not cut from the special cloth as some of the aforementioned names above.

      1. Exactly. Neither are Perez or Hulk unfortunately. So if they go for either, its still a concession. Of the two I would pick Checo.

        1. Hamilton had a lot of preparation to join F1 before he joined, testing and practice runs in the McLaren. Ricciardo had a season at least at HRT and a few at Toro Rosso before he was thrown up against Verstappen. Even Gasly had almost won Super Formula and had a full season and a half at Toro Rosso BEFORE he joined Red Bull. Compared to Albon who had no F1 experience before joining Toro Rosso and halfway through his first year switches teams and is alongside a dude most compare to be a special talent. Like of all of the people you mention – even Kvyat, Albon is the extreme least experienced. Even Verstappen – at 17, was at Toro Rosso – a low pressure environment to start with.

          You say the others were thrown in the deep end and they were, but they at least had some experience of those waters while Albon doesn’t. I don’t think Albon’s of the same special talent as some of the frontrunners but he’s a decent driver, with decent potential and Red Bull prove again and again they just don’t know how to help a driver. But then nearly the whole team is focused on Verstappen, so I can understand it. But I think people are far, far too harsh on Albon.

          1. There’s a reason for which imo albon has expired his chances: he got worse with experience at red bull, his first year there was pretty good, far better than gasly, but we’re down at gasly’s level now, the sooner the better.

  10. RocketTankski
    24th October 2020, 11:28

    Hartley: Alex mate. You have much to learn, young padawan!

  11. Wow, when was the last time somebody had such a warning from their team boss about keeping their seats publicly? Also, it’s not even a time frame that you can turn things around in, so I guess it’s a good bye to Albon then. Shane, because he looked very promising at Toro Rosso, but he was probably thrown in at the deep end too soon with Red Bull.

    Who would they bring in then from outside? Perez, Hülkenberg? Or maybe even sweep Russell if he is ousted from Williams?

    1. Hi, are you the only one besides me that think Russell would be the best and natural option for the second seat at Red Bull.

  12. I really liked alex…quiet off track and elbows out during races. He has the talent but redbull dont know how to nurture unless you are a super talent like max or leclerc. Pity.

  13. A dark horse for Albons seat next year would be Russell

  14. So thats it then all bets off of who goes where until Redbull decide to sack Alex or not!

    Then seats will fly out the door!

    In order of best seats avlaible:
    Redbull – along side Max
    Alpha T – along side gasley
    Alpha R – along side maybe Kimi
    Either Haas seat
    Williams along side Lafiti (I don’t think Russell is safe!)

    Did I miss anything? Bomb could be dropped that Lewis walks…..10000/1

    1. Ambrogio Isgro
      24th October 2020, 20:35

      Mick Schumacher will get one Haas seat, Giovinazzi will rest at Alfa Romeo alongside Kimi.
      If Tsunoda get enough licenze points will get Alpha Tauri alongside Gasly or Albon (Gasly to Renault?)
      Money will talk about other Haas seat (Mazepin, Perez, Latifi…)

  15. Albon is going back to alpha then. kvyat is out. Grosjean is back to his old self no wonder he is confirmed out. mag is out. Ocon gasly swap? Perez to rb. Russel on the edge.

  16. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    24th October 2020, 13:13

    Red Bull obviously don’t need pay drivers so why not a good fast kid like Russell alongside Max next season?

    1. I’d say because they want a Kimi to Seb or a Bottas to Hamilton. They don’t need to grind down yet another young driver who has not seen the competitive end of the grid yet.

  17. Looks like Perez’s money will be needed now that Red Bull have to take over the engine work.

  18. does anyone else think that if lewis surpasses schumacher’s record he will announce his retirement? or would he do the hamilton thing and announce it at the beginning of a season so he can wallow in it for the year..?

  19. ryanoceros666
    25th October 2020, 0:09

    I’m not sure why Red Bull didn’t sign Seb when he was available. All the options I have heard so far do not sound like a good fit. Russell would need to be released from Mercedes to drive for Red Bull? Unlikely. Although Perez would probably outperform Albon, I suspect his performance would be less than that of Ricciardo during his time at RB, and his money is not needed. I think Hulkenberg would do better.

    I suspect they go with Nico Hulkenberg or Kimi Raikkonen, Albon goes back to TR and Gasly stays at TR.

    1. Noooooo, why would they want vettel? He’s performed like one of the worst of the grid this year, realistically who could’ve been worse? Grosjean, giovinazzi, albon, maybe latifi, all other drivers drove better, red bull need a strong driver, not current vettel.

  20. Why they so afraid of letting Kvyat to try against Verstappen? Gasly tried, Albon tried, but they never let Kvyat a try.

  21. I see Perez relax and performing, not worried and erratic.
    Redbull is loosing honda and Aston Martin so will be looking for sponsors too, if A1 telekom sponsoring racing point is moving forward to main sponsor level at redbull, Perez will get the seat, as his sponsors also own A1 telekom. Redbull will be getting an excellent deal, no one else can get close to that offer.

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