Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Albon has no ‘Plan B’ if he loses Red Bull drive

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon says he doesn’t have a ‘Plan B’ if he loses his place at Red Bull at the end of the year.

Red Bull is considering whether to replace Albon in its line-up for the 2021 F1 season. Having performed well for the team at the end of last year, Albon has lagged well off the pace of team mate Max Verstappen this year. The pair are separated by 100 points in the drivers’ championship.

It remains to be seen where Albom could go if he loses his Red Bull seat. A return to AlphaTauri (formerly Toro Rosso) could be an option. However Red Bull has indicated Yuki Tsunoda could take the second seat alongside Pierre Gasly at that team next year.

Albon said today he isn’t considering where he might go if he loses his place at Red Bull.

Asked if he had a ‘plan B’, Albon said: “The focus is these three races,” he said, “there’s not really any other thought to it. It’s like everything; most people have a ‘plan B’, but my plan is ‘plan A’ and that’s staying in the team.

“So I’m focussed on that. That’s my goal and I’ll just focus on the last three races.”

Albon has found the Red Bull harder to drive than Verstappen, who has coped better with its sensitive handling. But recent changes to it have helped Albon become more comfortable with the car.

“I would say really [it’s] most probably about confidence in the car,” said Albon. “Driving the car, being on the limit the whole time and consistent with it.

“Especially at the start of the year, we definitely had a difficult rear end and that is getting better. And I think in terms of my feeling with the car, that’s also improving. If it can just feel better in that sense, that’s really the main thing.”

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2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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27 comments on “Albon has no ‘Plan B’ if he loses Red Bull drive”

  1. To be fair, if he had a firm plan B and his management was talking to others then that is just an admission of defeat even if it was done in the spirit of hedging bets. Red Bull need their second driver to have absolute confidence in themselves.

    If he does get dropped someone will pick him up outside of F1, he is too talented to be dropped out of motorsport completely.

    1. I guess I do agree with that.

      But, one of the big issues I have with the Red Bull driver program as a whole is that they do not have good plan B’s in general, which is odd if you think they take drivers from a rather young age and keep them in the family, while in the end only one or two can successfully make it every few years can actually make it to the top team, and a maximum of four to F1 (and if they are succesful they block the path of the next ones!). And because they are in the Red Bull program, their training in working with sponsors, teams, to get new opportunities also seems limited @chimaera2003

      1. @bosyber Yes the young driver program has downsides for both team and driver like you say. I would definitely not have it if I was team owner.

      2. @bosyber I agree with the points you raise about the young driver programme but as a young driver you accept the risks.

        The programme exists purely for world-class talent identification (eg Vettel, Verstappen, Ricciardo) with the aim of getting championships, it is not designed to provide long-term employment for a family of drivers. Whilst brutal, any young driver would jump at the chance to be on the programme.

        We do get the impression that driver welfare is not that high on the priority list with that programme (there is always someone else) but that could be unfair.

        1. @chimaera2003 – completely agree with that.

          Though having said that, the young driver who ‘accepts’ the risk might be a teenager, with parents who cannot fully see the balance of it either. That really does make the seeming (I hope, just as you mention, maybe it just isn’t visible to us judging from outside) lack of driver welfare as a priority quite a bit of an issue for me.

          But the other issue, is that I don’t understand how in the time it has been going, no one thought that for financial and marketing purposes it would be much better to keep those good, but not quite excellent enough drivers in the family, or at least as friends (or just like moments like when they had only Hartley to choose from …) so they aren’t just wasted effort.

  2. As far as I’m concerned that should be up to Red Bull. If they choose to promote a talented driver far too soon because they’re in trouble then they should make sure he’s got somewhere to go if it doesn’t work out, like they did with Gasly.

    1. In my opinion that is nonsense. We are talking avout a competitive sport, not about kindergarden. He has had his chance, regrettably did not make it, so he has to go. He should be happy to have had a shot at a top team and probably is.

      1. I think he will keep his seat

        1. I am afraid of that as well. It takes Red Bull too long to make the obvious decision.

  3. If he loses his drive, his F1 career is basically over. There is no room at Alpha Tauri and I doubt any team outside RB will pick him up.

    1. @srga91 At least not for next season as there isn’t really room anywhere, not even at Haas, which looks likely to go for Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.

      1. @jerejj
        The only option I see for him is getting a drive in another series for 2021 and either Gasly or Tsunoda leaving Alpha Tauri in 2022.

        1. @srga91 I doubt Red Bull would take him back for 2022 if he left entirely after this year. I reckon Juri Vips would more likely replace either Gasly or Tsunoda for 2022. Time will tell.

          1. @jerejj
            I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Just look at Kvyat and how many chances he got at Toro Rosso/Alpha Tauri.
            Plus the major shareholder of the Red Bull company is a Thai family. They will push for Albon to stay within the RB-structure.

  4. The majority stake holder in RB are Thais so it seems thus we wait …

  5. Red Bull Cliff D(r)iving

  6. The problems are far deeper entrenched than most people realise. RB have form in this. When Vettel was first brought into the team RB made no secret of the fact that they wanted to make him the no.1. Marko stated that the team and the car were being built around Vettel. When questioned about the car build/ set up being tailored to Vettel and not to Webber’s liking Marko said that the ‘Australian will just have to change his driving style to suit’. Great from a team perspective, especially motivation.!!! The same attitude was maintained when Verstappen arrived and Marko et al stated that their sole aim was to make Verstapppen the youngest WDC in F1 history. Ricciardo was in effect being told that you’re a No2 hence his decision to leave. Now we have the Albon affair and the circumstances seem to have a great deal of similarity. Albon is good, he’s fast and has great racecraft. It will be a sorry day if they drop him….IMO.

    1. Ricciardo’s career has been going nowhere since he left Red Bull

      1. Increasing your salary up to 300% is, of course, considered as “going somewhere” in career world. His deal was >75€ million until he decided to leave Renault.

        If you say, “as a racing driver it’s going nowhere” then many would agree with you. In the end their first goal is to earn good money, and then try to become a champion. Not many of them would want to be a champion for 0$.

        If you know that you won’t be a champion with the team, then it’s better to move on with the team who gives you number 1 seat and a better salary.

  7. Maybe in the future someone “rebuilds” Red Bull and makes a complete transition to the team…

  8. It seems like red bull have same approach.

  9. Unfortunately, his chances aren’t great if he loses the Red Bull drive. The only teams that would even consider him would be – Alfa Romeo, Haas, Williams and Toro Rosso.
    Alfa seems pretty happy with their driver line up. I have a feeling that Albon could match Giovinazzi in terms of performance, but it’s still a big question mark on whether he would be significantly better for Alfa to take a risk on dumping their Italian driver.
    Haas is probably lining up Schumacher in one seat, and the second seat would go to either someone who brings in lots of money, or brings in loads of experience. I don’t think Albon would fit the bill in either.
    Williams are retaining Russell, so their second seat would be reserved for a pay driver. Again.. Albon doesn’t match up to the likes of Latifi on this.
    Toro Rosso is his only chance.. if for some reason they think Tsonuda isn’t ready yet, they’ll probably use 2021 to peg Gasly vs Albon to see whether Gasly has any potential of joining the Red Bull A team in 2022.

    Albon’s career was a bit like Vandoorne’s. He came up short against a talent in his prime, who had the whole team working for him. My guess is that Albon will end up in Formula E as well.

  10. @todfod Alfa Romeo and Williams line ups are already set for next season, while Haas is, of course, set for Mick Schumacher and Mazepin, and Alpha Tauri most likely for Tsunoda, so realistically, it’s either Red Bull Racing or nothing for him in F1 concerning the next season.

  11. Oh, what I would give for the sheer drama of a Gasly/Albon Alpha Tauri team up. I can see the Drive to Survive episode from start to finish. It’s almost like a sports anime.

    That aside, I know Albon owes his whole F1 trajectory to RBR, but God how I wish it wasn’t so. RB simply has a recurring history of going through drivers with almost callous abandon, and sometimes killing careers before they manage to bloom in the process. I hope he gets to race on, if not on F1 then at least in Formula E or something.

  12. Is it the car or is it Albon? Who knows? I hope he keeps his seat.

  13. He will keep his seat. Horner has said Marko is very proud of the young driver program and to drop one for an older outsider would be admitting defeat, so will not happen. I bet Albon knows this so no need for plan B.

  14. “everybody’s got a plan until they get a P45 in the face”

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