According to Dr Helmut Marko, Yuki Tsunoda will drive for AlphaTauri in 2021 while Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg are options for Red Bull.
The only thing that has always been set in stone when it comes to the 2021 Red Bull and AlphaTauri line-ups is that Max Verstappen will drive for the senior team.
At the junior outfit, Formula 2 driver Tsunoda has been linked to Daniil Kvyat’s seat. The 20-year-old will be eligible to compete in Formula 1 as long as he finishes in the top six in the F2 standings this year.
Given that he is currently P3 with only two race weekends left, that is all but certain to happen. As long as it does, he will indeed drive for AlphaTauri next season, says Marko.
“At the moment we only have one driver who is a candidate for an F1 seat, that is Yuki Tsunoda,” he told Sky Germany.
“He is planned for AlphaTauri, he just needs to score the necessary points for the super-licence.”
Asked if any other Red Bull juniors are in with a shot of making it to F1 in the near future, the Austrian said: “Juri Vips, but he needs to spend at least another year in the youth series.”
At Red Bull, meanwhile, it’s far from certain that Alex Albon will partner Max Verstappen. Despite claiming his maiden podium, the Thai driver has often struggled this season. With Pierre Gasly excelling at AlphaTauri, many feel the two should be swapped again.
However, judging by Marko’s comments, Perez and Hulkenberg are the two drivers that would be considered to replace Albon if he does not improve, suggesting the rumours that Gasly has upset him in some way are true.
“If Albon can continue to develop and improve, then he is a candidate for our car for 2021. If Albon doesn’t live up to our expectations, we have to look outside our team,” he added.
“We are strong enough to handle all drivers. And then the two well-known candidates Perez and Hülkenberg come into the game.”
Both Perez and Hulkenberg are currently available for the 2021 season and have stated they are interested in driving for Red Bull. With the team not making an external hire in over a decade though, many believe it is more likely Albon will keep his seat.