Linked to Ferrari as well as a return to Red Bull, Alex Albon says F1’s silly season has started “earlier than normal” – especially as he is signed to Williams until the end of 2025.
Jettisoned in at Red Bull midway through the 2019 season but thrown out after 2020, Albon rebuilt both his career, and reputation, when he signed for Williams in 2022 and proved to be the team’s star driver.
But having earned his first-ever multi-year deal in Formula 1, the Thai-British driver staying on for 2023 as well as ’24 and ’25, Albon may have hamstrung himself.
Alex Albon: ‘It’s always nice to receive attention in that sense’
According to the latest round of silly season rumours, Ferrari are considering the 27-year-old as too are Red Bull. Both teams though, are looking for a driver for – at the very latest – the 2025 season with Ferrari said to be seeking a replacement for the Sauber/Audi-bound Carlos Sainz and Red Bull looking to replace Sergio Perez.
But Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has already put the length of Albon’s Williams contract down as a problem.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated last month, he said that while he thinks Albon is “doing a great job”, he is “unfortunately tied to Williams until the end of 2025.”
As for Albon’s side, the Williams driver accepts that while the rumours of rival teams’ interest are great, today his focus is solely on helping the Grove team improve.
“I think firstly it’s always nice to receive attention in that sense,” Albon told ESPN. “Not just in a media and outside sense, but it’s nice to feel it in a proper paddock sense, a team sense, where other teams are like that.
“I think purely as a driver it’s all about performance. You’ve got to do your job and give yourself the best platform.
“My focus is on Williams and I’m excited to see this progress and see where it’s going to take us in one, two years’ time and see from there where we are, and can we be fighting for podiums?
“Because that’s my goal, that’s where I want to be, wherever that is. I want to have a chance to win races before I retire, before I turn grey and old! I’m ready for that.”
With his Williams contract reportedly running through to the end of the 2025 season, but likely to include escape clauses for both the driver and the team, Albon acknowledges that a lot could change in the driver market in the next year or so. However, 2026 with its new engine regulations is when he expects the big changes to take place – just in time for his Williams deal to expire.
“We’re in a period now and silly season has started earlier than normal,” he said. “The Daniel [Ricciardo] and Nyck [de Vries] thing has been the catalyst for it but even before Silverstone [it was starting].
“There’s one thing that is no secret and that’s 2026 is a big year as manufacturers are coming on board, teams are trying to get on board, there’s a huge push now.
“If you look at everyone’s driver contract, they’re all ending in the years leading to that. That’s just how it is right now. If you want to have a good driver, those talks start next season.”
Ferrari, or even his former team Red Bull, could come calling.
“Yeah,” he said. “Weird! “The only thing that’s nice about rumours is it’s clearly showing things are going well. They’re nice rumours as well.
“I see some bad ones. It’s always my friends sending me this absolute garbage, like, ‘is this true!?'”