Alfa Romeo option for Albon; F1 chance for de Vries?

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Alfa Romeo option for Albon; F1 chance for de Vries?

Formula 1

Alfa Romeo option for Albon; F1 chance for de Vries?

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Former Red Bull Racing driver Alex Albon is attracting interest from Alfa Romeo Racing for 2022, a development that leaves newly crowned Formula E champion Nyck de Vries (pictured above) waiting to see if he’ll get an F1 chance.

George Russell’s expected move to Mercedes comes with Valtteri Bottas set to join Alfa Romeo, replacing the retiring Kimi Raikkonen. Albon’s name came to the fore as an option for Williams last week and a deal was understood to be close, but on Friday in Zandvoort a source told RACER that Alfa Romeo could also be a destination for the Red Bull reserve.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has now confirmed that news, stating he expects Albon’s future to be finalized in the near future.

“I think Alex deserves a seat in Formula 1 and I think there’s quite a bit of interest in him for next year,” Horner said. “We’ll do whatever we can to try and enable that. I hope that nothing prevents him from realizing one of those opportunities. He’s a talented driver and, subject to George moving, and now Kimi is retiring, that does open up opportunities. I’m sure it will get resolved over the next week or so.

“We are looking at external teams. Williams and Alfa Romeo have both expressed interest and we’re keen to see him back racing in Formula 1. Hopefully that can get resolved over the next few days.”

Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Formula E champion de Vries — who also won the Formula 2 championship in 2019 for Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur’s ART Grand Prix — could end up on the grid but that Albon’s future needs sorting to allow him to know which options are open.

“Well first of all, Nyck is a Mercedes driver in Formula E and he’s won the Formula E world championship and helped us to win the constructors world championship, and he’s an extremely important member of that team,” Wolff said. “I admired his decision back in the day after wining the F2 title to say, ‘I want to be part of a works team and that’s why I’m joining Mercedes in Formula E rather than running behind the dream in Formula 1.’

“And now the time has come that people recognize his talent and his ability, and therefore there’s talks taking place, but for us what’s most important is that he stays within the family. I don’t want to really lose him at that stage for another Formula E championship but I wouldn’t block him for Formula 1.

“At the moment it revolves around Alex Albon, who as Christian said deserves a seat. He’s a really good kid and he’s probably the main protagonist in the moving chairs. Nyck has a guaranteed seat in Formula E with us and I’m of two minds as I said before — I wish him to be in Formula 1 but I don’t want to lose him for our Formula E campaign.”

The complexity comes from Williams’ close relationship with Mercedes, that makes it slightly unusual that a Mercedes youngster in Russell would be replace with a Red Bull driver in Albon rather than de Vries, but Williams team principal Jost Capito is believed to favor a more experienced option than a rookie.

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