Meet the candidates

Evidently, Red Bull have not finished playing with everyone’s feelings, with regard to their driver line-up. After they announced that Alex Albon will partner Max Verstappen for the remainder of 2019, they made an interesting revelation.

Red Bull motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko revealed that the identity of Max Verstappen’s 2020 teammate is still a mystery. In the first half of the season, Pierre Gasly partnered the Dutchman, though his performance was underwhelming.

So, Red Bull has swapped out Gasly for Albon from the Belgian Grand Prix until the end of the season. They will utilise the next nine races to evaluate Albon, who is still in his rookie season in F1. In fact, Alex Albon is the first Red Bull junior to race in Red Bull in his rookie season.

However, the Austrian team were silent on their line-up for the coming season, specifically, who will partner Verstappen. Marko affirmed that it is too early to know the identity of the Dutchman’s teammate for 2020.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

“Nobody knows who will be Verstappen’s teammate next year, so Albon has the opportunity to perform and develop without any pressure in the remaining nine races,” Marko revealed to Japanese media.

“I think Albon is the better choice [for 2019]. We already know Daniil’s speed. As a driver he is now fully prepared after his time at Ferrari, but after analysis of all the factors we have chosen Alex.

“I don’t think he will be a second Gasly. When we put him there, we didn’t expect him to have the speed that he actually showed race by race.”

Marko is of the opinion that Pierre Gasly was unable to withstand the pressure of racing at a front-running team. This was in spite of the fact that the Frenchman was impressive at Toro Rosso in 2018.

“I thought Gasly was mentally strong. But the best explanation for his crisis are psychological problems. Until this season, Pierre had a good pace in racing and qualifying and no problems with overtaking.

“But this year he didn’t show any of these qualities. He also felt responsible for the crash in the Barcelona test. That was in his head even before he started the season.”