Red Bull will make a decision within the next few days about whether it retains Alex Albon for 2021, or replaces him with Sergio Perez.
Albon has had a difficult first full season with Red Bull after being promoted from Toro Rosso during 2019, but picked up his first podium in Mugello and has finished the year with another third place in Bahrain, sixth on the outer circuit and a solid run to fourth in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Perez won the penultimate race and it is still unclear what Red Bull will choose to do for next season, but team principal Christian Horner said a decision will be made quickly.
“We have always said that we will go to the end of the year, and then make our decision at the end of the season,” Horner said. “Alex had his strongest race weekend this weekend, which is encouraging for him, and we now have a full picture of the season. And we will make that decision in the coming days.
“We have a huge amount of data now. We have all the knowledge across the various circuits that we have done, and will sit down and go through that so that we can come to the right conclusion.”
Horner said the performance Albon showed in Abu Dhabi – where he never really threatened the Mercedes drivers, but closed to within 1.5 seconds of Lewis Hamilton on the final lap – was in keeping with what Red Bull wants from its second driver.
“It is certainly what we were expecting to see, because the only way that you could put Mercedes under pressure is if, for example, they had split their strategy we could have been very exposed,” he said.
“Certainly at the end of the race Alex was able to close on them. He obviously lost a bit of ground at the beginning of the stint after the Safety Car once they had all changed effectively onto the same strategy to the end of the race, but I think Alex has driven a good race and he has had a solid weekend.”
Nico Hulkenberg is also believed to be a candidate to replace Albon if Red Bull drops the Thai-British driver, but Perez’s strong performances while the German has been on the sidelines makes him the favorite if a change is made.