Red Bull seem to have a knack of grabbing headlines during the summer break if last year was any proof. To be precise, that year, Daniel Ricciardo caused a tsunami in the driver market when he elected to move away from the team. This year it is the revelation of Pierre Gasly being demoted to Toro Rosso and Alex Albon taking the Frenchman’s place. In the wake of the switch, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko explained their reason for choosing Albon over the more experienced Daniil Kvyat.
So far, Alex Albon has just 12 Formula 1 starts under his belt, while Kvyat is on 84, including podiums. However, Albon is replacing another inexperienced driver in Gasly who failed to deliver the goods. The only question on everyones lips is, can Albon live up to the pressure cooker called Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen? Marko certainly thinks so.
“I am optimistic that Albon is at the right level. Frankly, it came somewhat unexpectedly that he would perform well in his first year. In addition, he makes convincing strides with every race,” Marko declared, speaking to Japanese Autosport Web.
“Since Alex’s contract only covers the last nine races and nothing has been decided yet about who will be Max’s teammate next year; Alex could race and grow without feeling extra pressure.”
When talking about the decision to choose the Thai driver over the experienced Russian, Marko was pretty straightforward.
“I think Albon is better. We know the speed of Kvyat, we can say that he has become a more complete driver. However, based on all factors, we chose Alex,” says Marko.
So, when the Formula One paddock returns in just under two weeks’ time, the acid test for Alex Albon will begin. The youngster will seriously need to step up so that he and Max Verstappen can help Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.