Christian Horner has confirmed Red Bull have the option to recall Alex Albon for the 2023 season if they want to.
Albon will be back on the grid next season, with the Thai driver replacing George Russell at Williams.
In order for Mercedes, the British team’s engine supplier, to allow the move to happen, Toto Wolff stated Red Bull had to release him from the contract he had with them, and the German team ultimately got their wish.
While he may no longer be on their books though, Horner has stated they have an option to bring Albon back after next season.
“We have a good relationship with Alex, he retains a link to Red Bull, and we would have an option on his services should they be required in 2023,” said the team principal, quoted by the official Formula 1 website.
“He was effectively out of contract at the end of next year anyway, so basically what we have done is speed that process up and secure future options on him.”
I can’t tell you how good it feels to say.. I’m joining @WilliamsRacing for 2022!! The most sincere thank you to Jost and everyone at Williams for trusting me with this opportunity and of course @redbullracing especially Christian and Dr. Marko for making this possible. pic.twitter.com/c0NhSQLd0L
— Alex Albon (@alex_albon) September 8, 2021
After being replaced by Sergio Perez at the end of 2020, Albon has spent the 2021 season as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver and Horner has been immensely impressed with the work ethic and attitude displayed.
“The amount of hours he’s done in the sim has been insane,” he added.
“It’s all part of, and adding to, what we are managing to achieve on track this year. What I’ve been impressed with is the way he’s embraced that role, from the moment he was informed [he was being dropped] after Abu Dhabi last year.
“He’s done a great job behind the scenes. He’s been very much involved in next year’s car. He signed the Williams agreement and then was straight back on the simulator late into the evening putting the hours in.
“We’ll be working him hard between now and the end of the year.”
Nevertheless, Horner is not worried about losing him, feeling the team have capable replacements.
“We’ll miss his input into that next year, but we have Juri Vips and Liam Lawson doing a great job,” said Horner.
“We still have Sebastien Buemi under contract, Jake Dennis has been doing a great job for us as well, so we have strength and depth within the simulation squad.”