Red Bull has confirmed Alexander Albon will continue alongside Max Verstappen in its line-up for the 2020 Formula 1 season, while Toro Rosso will keep Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.
Albon made his F1 debut this season after graduating from Formula 2 and was promoted from Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso to its main F1 outfit ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix. The Anglo-Thai racer replaced Gasly, who had been struggling as Verstappen’s team-mate in the early stages of the season, and has now successfully convinced Red Bull to make the switch permanent for next year.
«I am really excited to be partnering Max again for next year and I know how fortunate I am to be given this opportunity,» Albon said. «I’m hugely thankful that Red Bull have put their trust in me and believed in my results since I joined the team and for them to keep me in the car next year is a big deal. «This year has been an incredible year for me and getting the call up to Red Bull mid-season was already a big step, so now I will use the learnings from this season and use the experience to improve and fight at the front in 2020.»
Albon has had several crashes since joining Red Bull, and like Gasly has struggled to match Verstappen over one lap. But he has proven an upgrade on Gasly in race trim, with a run of four consecutive top-five finishes and he has outscored Verstappen 68 points to 54 in their seven races as team-mates so far.
«Alex has performed extremely well since his debut with the team in Belgium and his results — seven finishes in the top-six — speak for themselves,» said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
«It’s extremely hard to deny that level of consistency and in tandem with a growing reputation as a tenacious, fiercely committed racer, Alex has proved that he fully deserves to continue his progress with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. «There is plenty of potential still to unlock and we look forward to seeing Alex alongside Max in 2020.»
Red Bull has repeatedly made it clear that it will look to keep the same roster of drivers across its two F1 teams in 2020, which it backed up by confirming the Toro Rosso line-up would continue as Gasly and Kvyat shortly after Albon’s deal was announced.
«I’m really happy to continue with the team for 2020 and I’m sure we have exciting challenges ahead of us,» said Gasly. «Toro Rosso has always given me the best chances to perform every season and I’m super motivated and dedicated to repaying them with the best results possible next year. «Toro Rosso has been improving year after year and it’s great to be a part of the journey. I’m very excited to see what we can achieve together in 2020.»
Kvyat said: «»It’s great to be confirmed with the team for 2020. «I’m really happy because I feel very comfortable with everyone here, I know the team and they know me very well, so it’s easy to understand everyone’s needs. «We’ve achieved great things together, like our podium this year in Germany, so I hope to deliver a very strong season again for this team next year. «I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue in Formula 1 and I will give it my all to show the best possible performances next year. I’m really looking forward to more exciting times together.»
The only seat left unfilled on the 2020 grid is now at Williams, where likely F2 graduate Nicholas Latifi has been tipped to partner George Russell.
By Valentin Khorounzhiy https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/147102/red-bull-keeps-albon-for-20-toro-rosso-drivers-stay