Rating Alex Albon as a “very good driver”, Lando Norris feels F1 can be a “very unfair world” after his friend was dropped by Red Bull.
Albon was demoted by Red Bull at the end of last year, dropped from a race seat to a reserve role after failing to match his team-mate Max Verstappen and assist in the fight against Mercedes.
Two years and 38 races after his F1 dream was realised, it was over.
With Red Bull having already decided to place Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri alongside Pierre Gasly, Albon’s axing from the senior squad meant there wasn’t even a junior seat for him to take.
He instead will be Red Bull’s reserve driver for the 2021 season while also racing in DTM.
His good friend Norris says Albon’s exit shows that Formula 1 can be a “very unfair” place.
“It’s difficult because I’m good friends with Alex. We get along well and have always had good conversations, although we haven’t actually talked much about Red Bull.
“I’m sorry for him, he’s a very good driver.
“It’s hard – it just goes to show again how hard Formula 1 can be. It can even happen to an extremely good driver.
“He beat everyone in all the junior categories, but once you’re in Formula 1 it’s all different – just a bit more competitive. It can be a very unfair world.
“You can lose your spot just like that and it’s all over as quickly as it started.”
Red Bull have signed Sergio Perez as Albon’s replacement, the Sakhir Grand Prix winner himself almost out of Formula 1 after Racing Point, now called Aston Martin, dropped him in favour of putting Sebastian Vettel in the car.
Perez was handed a lifeline by Red Bull, signing a one-year deal with the Milton Keynes squad.
Norris reckons Albon will be keen to get his seat back come 2022.
“I don’t know what to say about it,” he continued. “I like Alex and have a lot of respect for him.
“It’s a shame he lost his seat but I’m sure he’s going to do everything he can to fight back and get back into F1.”