Helmut Marko explains driver who ‘gets brought up a lot’ can’t replace Sergio Perez

Michelle Foster
Helmut Marko talks to Sergio Perez. Bahrain February 2023.

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaks to Sergio Perez at testing.

As Formula 1’s rumour mill debates Sergio Perez’s replacement, Helmut Marko says “unfortunately” Alex Albon cannot be on the list of candidates due to his long-term Williams contract.

Albon spent three seasons with Red Bull in Formula 1, starting out at the junior team before being promoted to the senior squad after just 12 races.

He missed out on a podium in his first season, Lewis Hamilton costing him a top-three result at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, but did secure two in his second – and only full – season with Red Bull.

Helmut Marko says Alex Albon question is ‘brought up a lot’

He, however, missed out on a race win when he was once again taken out by Hamilton, this time at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix.

Albon was demoted to a test driver position for the 2021 season with Red Bull signing Perez in his stead.

But as the tables have turned, it’s now Perez whose seat is under threat while Albon has emerged as one of the stars of the 2023 championship, scoring all 21 of Williams’ points.

Marko accepts that were it not for his collisions with Hamilton, Albon actually did a decent job at Red Bull.

“He was actually doing quite well until he was turned around twice by Hamilton, in a victorious position in Austria, and that got on his nerves a bit,” Marko is quoted by Motorsport-Total as having told the press in Qatar.

But that doesn’t mean he’ll be back in the cockpit with the driver having signed a multi-year deal with Williams.

Asked if Albon could rejoin Red Bull, the motorsport advisor replied: “It gets brought up a lot, but unfortunately Albon signed a long-term contract and won’t be on the market until probably 2026.”

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Marko’s “unfortunately” is somewhat contrary to comments he made after August’s Dutch Grand Prix.

With Albon qualifying an impressive fourth before bringing his car home in eighth place, Marko was asked by Viaplay if the Thai-British racer could return to the Red Bull family.

Marko made it clear that the door was shut.

He said: “Max’s team-mate has a very tough and difficult life. Albon has already had his chance.

“He has improved remarkably since then, but at the moment there is no driver who is on Max’s level.”

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