When Alex Albon arrived at Red Bull midway through the 2019 season, there was a ray of hope from the young driver. He had started well enough to prove that he belonged at the team and claimed the seat for 2020.
Fast forward a year on from the promotion, and it has not fully worked out for the Thai driver. It has now gotten to the point that Red Bull are now thinking of replacing him with a more experienced option.
Former Renault driver Jolyon Palmer thinks that the promotion move was a bit “rash” from Red Bull’s end. He also said that the management should have thought it through, considering pairing anybody with the high-flying Max Verstappen was always going to be tough.
Writing in his column, Palmer stated, “It felt a bit of a rash move from Red Bull to switch him with the struggling Gasly last summer. They have always been pretty punchy with their young drivers, and not afraid of mid-season switches.”
“But putting a rookie alongside Verstappen was always going to be a tricky ask.”
Many of the issues have also revolved around Albon not being in proximity to Verstappen’s qualifying timings. The magic figure of ‘within three-tenths’ of Max has always been touted, but rarely achieved.
“The problem is that since then, with one exception in Japan last year, he hasn’t been able to close the gap to Verstappen at all in qualifying.” concluded Palmer on the topic.
Red Bull have drawn criticism at times, with the handling and timing of promoting young drivers to the main team. Pierre Gasly was victim to being unable to handle the pressure, and rightly so.
He has since reinvented himself at AlphaTauri, which has rejuvenated both his confidence and racecraft. Albon could possibly do the same if he is presented with that chance.
However, the issue now seems to be whether Albon can land the seat Kvyat could vacate at the end of 2020. For F2 driver Yuki Tsunoda is also one of the favorites to drive in the sport next year, meaning it could be the end of the road for Albon in F1.