Daniel Ricciardo’s surprise departure at the end of the 2018 season left a gaping hole in Red Bull’s driver’s lineup. Since then, Pierre Gasly and later Alex Albon have tried to fill the void. However, the Red Bull car appeared too hot to handle for both of them.
As a result, Red Bull racing are unable to compete to their potential with Mercedes. They have only one car out on the grid fighting for the podium, while Albon struggles to record a points finish.
Writing for Unibet, Mika Hakkinen said, “As I have said before, Red Bull Racing suffers from being a one-car team at many races, and again we saw a difficult race for Alex Albon, who finished one lap behind his teammate.”
The Silver Arrows started their race on Mediums and the tires took them deep into the race. Hakkinen also explained, “Red Bull Racing could have made this a stronger race if they had started on medium tyres, Max Verstappen showing strongly at first but then fading away.”
When Red Bull sported Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen on their lineup, we saw fierce competition between both drivers every weekend.
After Daniel’s surprise move to Renault, the team have been unsuccessful in finding another competitive first mate to the Dutchman.
The team signed Pierre Gasly for the 2019 season. He was promoted from Toro Rosso to race alongside Max Verstappen. However, the young Frenchman couldn’t hack it in the big leagues and was swapped with Alex Albon in the middle of the season.
Alex Albon showed massive promise in his first race, starting from P17 and finishing P5. Alex showed intent that was previously lacking and made some brilliant racing moves.
Hakkinen said, “This is unusual since Alex is clearly a capable driver, just as Pierre Gasly was before him, yet driving the second Red Bull seems to be a problem.”
He further stated that it is highly important for Red Bull to find a solution to the problem. Hakkinen believes that the RB16 is too Verstappen specific.
He said, “A car setup which is too Verstappen-specific could be the issue, and it is really noticeable how much more competitive Pierre has been since moving back to Red Bull’s junior team.”
If we look at the statements of Christian Horner and Helmut Marko, Alex Albon’s chances look slim. The only way Alex will retain his seat is if he shows clear signs of improvement in the remaining few races.
There are rumors and hints being dropped around the fact that Red Bull might look at Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez for their 2021 lineup.
Is it too much to ask a new Formula 1 driver to master the infamous RB16? Should Alex Albon be given another season? After all, both Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon are from Red Bull young drivers academy.
Going with a driver outside the academy could also indicate the failure of the system. Fans are on the edge of their seats for a concrete answer, and it might be right around the corner.