Williams team principal Jost Capito said his working relationships with Mercedes and Red Bull enabled him to cut a deal to sign Alex Albon for 2022.
Christian Horner had been trying to find a drive for Albon after Sergio Perez was renewed at the senior Red Bull team for another season, and while Toto Wolff felt Albon deserved to be on the grid – having a Red Bull driver compete for a Mercedes customer team represented a stumbling block.
However, a compromise was found whereby Red Bull have released Albon from their junior ranks so he is able to drive at Williams next year, but they will “retain a relationship with him that includes future options”.
“Of course it’s always challenging first to define which driver you really want – and then get it over the line,” Capito told Lawrence Barretto on Formula1.com.
“I have a great relationship with Toto. We have known each other for a long time. When he started at Mercedes, I was at Volkswagen Motorsport and together we have been in F3 supplying engines, so we had to find ways to handle F3 as two engine manufacturers and to build up great relationship.
“Red Bull has been main partner at Volkswagen in the World Rally Championship when I was there so I have great links to Red Bull. These good relationships from the past and on-going good relationships help to bring all the parties together and they support our choice of Alex.”
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
Williams had a plethora of talent from which to choose to drive their car next season, and while Capito acknowledged that other candidates had approached the team, he felt Albon was the logical pick for them in 2022.
With large-scale regulation changes coming and with Albon and Nicholas Latifi having been team-mates before, the Williams team principal feels pleased with his driver choice for next year.
“We want to move forward, we don’t want to move backwards,” Capito explained.
“With that in mind, a driver who is still at the beginning of his career and has quite a lot of experience already was appealing.
“Alex has been in one of the top teams, has driven a race winning car, has experience of being successful and being on the podium – and is eager to do that again.
“He will also fit well in the team and already has with the relationship with Nicky, as they were team-mates in F2. All this together was important for us. If take these attributes and put them through a checklist, Alex is the guy who is the one that fits the most.
“I’m not saying there weren’t other great drivers we could have worked with. Nyck de Vries deserves a chance in F1, he’s a great driver – he deserves a space and I hope he can get one. Valtteri also a very good fit for Alfa. But for us, Alex was the right choice.”