Red Bull has replaced Pierre Gasly with Alexander Albon for the rest of the 2019 season following a series of poor performances from the Frenchman.
Gasly has yet to finish on the podium since being promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull this year, with a best result of fourth place in Silverstone. In the last two rounds he retired in Germany after contact with Albon while team-mate Max Verstappen won, and was sixth in Hungary while Verstappen took pole and finished second.
Although Red Bull team principal Christian Horner stated after the Hungarian Grand Prix that “our intention is to leave (Gasly) in the car until the end of the year,” the team has now announced that Albon will partner Verstappen from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, with Gasly returning to Toro Rosso alongside Daniil Kvyat.
“Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula 1 drivers under contract who can be rotated between Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso,” a team statement read. “The team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.
“Everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing looks forward to welcoming Alex to the Team and supporting him during the next phase of his F1 career.”
Albon has picked up 16 points in his rookie season so far with a best finish of sixth in Germany, where team-mate Kvyat finished on the podium. Between them they have helped Toro Rosso to a current position of fifth in the constructors’ championship.
Gasly has 63 points from his 12 races with Red Bull, 118 fewer than Verstappen has managed in the same period. As well as his pole position in Hungary, Verstappen has won two of the past four races.