Red Bull principal Christian Horner says the potential of their mid-season recruit Alex Albon “looks very high”.
The Anglo-Thai driver only made his debut in F1 this season, signing with Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso, but the poor performances of Pierre Gasly opened the door for Albon’s promotion to the Red Bull team over the summer break.
Since then Albon has gone on to exceed the performances put in by Gasly – he would have likely maintained his run of not finishing outside the top six since joining Red Bull if he hadn’t have collided with Lewis Hamilton in Brazil.
But looking at the overall picture, Horner is excited by what he is seeing from Albon, believing his “potential looks very high”.
“Alex stepped up into the pressure cooker,” Horner told Racefans.net.
“He has acquitted himself very well against Max [Verstappen], he is starting to provide useful data. We need to give Alex time because you know, this is his first year in Formula 1, but he is certainly contributing more and more.
“It’s been a very strong first year for him. He’s applied himself well, he’s working well within the team, and he’s impressed a lot of people.
“He’s very much F1 material, but how good he will ultimately be, I don’t know at the moment. He’s certainly doing a good job at the moment, and his potential looks very high.”
On the other side of the garage Verstappen has become Red Bull’s No.1 driver at only 22 years of age – he has claimed three victories for the team this season and Horner has no doubt that the Dutchman is championship material.
“I think he’s really stepped up things of late this year as a senior driver,” said Horner.
“I think he’s done a great job; he’s taken on that responsibility and he’s having some phenomenal races this year. He’s pushing the development and the direction of the development hard, and his feedback has been of exceptional quality.”
And can Verstappen one day become champion? “Undoubtedly,” was Horner’s response.