Albon replaces Gasly at Red Bull

12/08/2019
NEWS STORY

Red Bull will feature a new driver line-up from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, as Alexander Albon is being promoted to drive alongside Max Verstappen, while Pierre Gasly will return to Scuderia Toro Rosso.

According to a very brief statement: "Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula One drivers under contract who can be rotated between Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.

The Team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex's performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.

Everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing looks forward to welcoming Alex to the Team and supporting him during the next phase of his F1 career."

The news follows repeated claims by both team boss, Christian Horner and Red Bull motor sport consultant, Helmut Marko that Gasly's seat was secure for the remainder of the season.

That said, the Frenchman has been hugely disappointing and only last week Horner admitted his frustration.

"We need him to be racing Ferraris and Mercedes," said the Briton, "and everything we can do to help him to achieve that is what we will do."

Asked if the Frenchman could still save his seat, Horner said: "I think he really needs to take some time out during the summer break, reflect on the first half of the season and take the lessons from that into the second half of the year.

"It's vital for us if we are to stand any chance of catching Ferrari that we have him finishing further ahead," he added. "Our intention is to leave him the car until the end of the year. But we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car."

As for Albon, who has impressed from the outset, the move up to Red Bull just twelve races into his F1 career must be seen as a poisoned chalice, for while the youngster is still learning he will be thrown in at the deep end at a team which is not known for its patience.

After 12 rounds, Gasly has 63 points to Verstappen's 181, a best finish of 12th to his teammate's two wins and three other podiums, a best qualifying performance of fourth while the Dutchman claimed pole in Hungary.

Furthermore, while Verstappen has scored points in every race, and, along with Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to have completed every racing lap of the season thus far, Gasly has scored points in just nine of the races.

The lack of comments from either Horner or Albon in the announcement, though no doubt connected to the fact that both are now on the mandatory summer break, suggest that that the decision was somewhat spontaneous.

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Published: 12/08/2019
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