Red Bull F1 are in a crisis. Even since Daniel Ricciardo left for Renault, the Milton Keynes based-outfit have struggled to find a driver who can either play second fiddle to Max Verstappen or take the lead now and then.
However, they have demonstrated very different patience levels when it comes to treating their second driver in the past two seasons. Pierre Gasly was demoted back to Toro Rosso after just 12 races.
The incumbent Alex Albon, on the other hand, has been given 23 races to prove his worth. In reality, he hasn’t really fared any better than the man he replaced. In fact, in lesser machinery, Gasly has almost the same number of points as Albon in 2020.
Yet, for some reason, Red Bull continues to back Albon and give him chance after chance to make the drive his own.
Why so, you may wonder? Why can’t they move on from the 24-year-old? What makes them persist with him? Why are they taking their own sweet time to decide who should get the second Red Bull seat for next season? Well, we may have a compelling answer.
The answer is pretty much as simple as that. The Milton Keynes-based outfit have already lost the Championship battle to Mercedes. They want to make sure that the decision they take moving forward is a well thought out one.
To that extent, the team’s prospective options are Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. Two drivers who are without a contract. Moreover, two drivers for whom Red Bull is pretty much the only available seat for next year.
The team knows that there is no third party who can woo their candidates away. This keeps them safe in the knowledge that they can move late.
As for Albon, with nothing left to lose now, the least they can do is continue to show faith in him until the season ends.
This will also help the Anglo-Thai driver to know that a decision hasn’t been made yet. He can still try to keep his seat for next year if he can prove to them that he has turned a leaf with improved showings.
At the end of the day, Red Bull just want a ‘number 2’ driver for next year. With around four months remaining for the start of next season, they can afford to take their time, and that is exactly what they intend to do.