It is getting towards crunch time for Alex Albon, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner putting particular focus on the next two races.
Albon’s future beyond the end of the 2020 season has been one of the big talking points throughout the year with the 24-year-old suffering more lows than highs in his first full campaign alongside Max Verstappen.
A first podium finish of his career at Mugello could have been a big turning point for Albon in securing the Red Bull seat in 2021, but he has not being able to build on that result.
As a consequence of that, the doubts and questions about his Red Bull future have quickly returned.
Heading into the latter stages of the 2020 season, Horner has said that Albon’s performances at Portimao and Imola are going to play a significant part in determining Albon’s future.
“We want Alex to claim that seat and basically justify that there is no need to look at any other alternative than Alex,” said Horner, as quoted by RaceFans.net.
“I think everybody in the team wants to see him do that.
“It felt like in Mugello he was starting to turn the corner and so on.
“He’s had a couple of difficult weekends, so he needs to bounce back here I think and particularly Imola with a strong weekend from start to finish. So that’s our focus, that’s our objective.”
Horner once again stated that neither Pierre Gasly nor Daniil Kvyat are options to replace Albon, so Red Bull would be willing to look outside their own driver pool if they feel Albon isn’t the driver for the team in 2021.
He added: “I think AlphaTauri are pretty settled with their drivers. So as I say our preference is very much Alex.
“But if we had a look at a different solution, then obviously we would have to look outside of the Red Bull pool of drivers simply because there is not one available that we would look to put in.
“There’s some quality drivers, obviously, on the market, that could be unemployed for next year.”
Those “quality drivers” that could be under consideration are Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. Perez is being let go by Racing Point to make way for Sebastian Vettel, while Hulkenberg has excelled in his super-sub role when covering for both Racing Point drivers in 2020.