Alex Albon will be returning to Formula 1 as a Williams driver in 2022, the team have announced.
Nicholas Latifi, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the season, has also retained his seat with the team as the Grove outfit confirm their full line-up for next year.
After being dropped by Red Bull for 2021, Christian Horner had been looking for avenues to get the British-Thai driver back on the grid – and he has succeeded in that goal.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said previously he hoped Albon would be released from his Red Bull contract to be able to race at Williams.
Red Bull have confirmed this has happened, but they have kept an option on his deal for him to return to their programme in the future should they decide to do so.
Albon said: “I am really excited and looking forward to returning to a Formula 1 race seat in 2022. When you take a year out of F1 it’s never certain you will make a return, so I’m extremely thankful to Red Bull and Williams for believing in me and helping me on my journey back to the grid.
“It’s also been great to see all the progress Williams have been making as a team this year and I look forward to helping them continue that journey in 2022.
“My focus now returns to my test and reserve driver role at Red Bull and helping the team fight for this year’s World Championship.”
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) September 8, 2021
Team principal Jost Capito added: “It is fantastic to be able to confirm our driver line-up for 2022 and I am delighted to be welcoming Alex to the team, along with confirming our continued relationship with Nicholas into next year.
“We are extremely excited by our new line-up, with both drivers bringing a great blend of youth and experience that will not only be a great fit for the team but also help us take the next step in our journey.
“Alex is one of the most exciting young talents in motorsport, yet comes with a large amount of F1 experience from his time at Red Bull.
“His multiple podium finishes highlight his speed as a driver and we know he will immediately feel at home with the team at Grove.
“Nicholas, meanwhile, has consistently impressed us over the past three years with his hard work, diligence and positive attitude.
“He has continued to develop throughout his time at Williams and has grown into an impressive F1 driver, as seen by his points-scoring finishes this season.
“We are now looking forward to continuing to build on our positive momentum as a team and finishing this season as strongly as possible before turning our attentions to 2022.”
Latifi had been widely expected to retain his seat and now that has been confirmed by Williams. The Canadian also feels he will be able to take on the mantle of team leader once George Russell departs for Mercedes.
“I’m excited to be continuing with Williams for another year, partly because of F1’s new technical regulations but also because the team is moving in a more competitive direction with new owners, management and people on the technical side,” said Latifi.
“I’ve felt at home here since the day I arrived and I think I’m in the right place to continue with my positive trajectory. The aim is to continue making little improvements so we can all take advantage of the opportunity we have next year.
“I’m super-excited to work with next year’s car and it’s like a fresh start for everyone. I feel privileged to be part of that change.”
Williams’ announcement leaves only Alfa Romeo and Haas to officially confirm their 2022 driver line-ups as next year’s Formula 1 grid takes shape.