Christian Horner says Red Bull can take as long as they like to decide Alex Albon’s future as a “full” grid for 2021 is buying them a bit of time.
Red Bull has yet to confirm two of its drivers for 2021, Max Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate and Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri partner.
The team is still keen on Albon snapping up the Red Bull seat, determined to give the driver as much time as possible to prove he deserves it.
Albon, though, has done anything but of late.
He was lapped by Verstappen at the Portuguese Grand Prix before spinning out of the points at Imola.
Many pundits believed that would be the end for the Thai-British driver only for Helmut Marko to extend the deadline for the driver to save his seat until the final lap of the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.
Horner says they can do because Red Bull is the only team yet to decide its line up.
“Looking at today, he’s had a pretty decent day, probably his best Friday for quite a while,” Horner told Autosport after Albon finished P5 in FP2 for the Turkish GP.
“As I’ve said all along, we want to see Alex lay claim to that seat.
“I think the difference is that [with] the alternatives we have, all the seats are full in Formula 1.
“So that buys us a little bit of time to make the most informed decision that we can, and of course give Alex as much time as we can and as much support as we can, and see what happens over the remaining three or four races.”
🗣 "We’ll look at everything tonight and then with the conditions tomorrow, let’s see what happens but all in all it was a good day." @Alex_Albon on #TurkishGP practice 🇹🇷👉 https://t.co/SBvCnkrZQa pic.twitter.com/Vcm0hHvEZ8
— Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) November 13, 2020
“We’re not putting any particular timescale on it,” Horner added.
“Alex’s contract allows us to make that decision after the season. Obviously we’re aware of what the other options are.
“As I say, all the other seats are committed now in Formula 1, apart from Mercedes, and I doubt that Lewis will be joining us next season. But you never know.”
Should Red Bull decide to drop Albon, Nico Hulkenberg is reportedly leading the running to replace the 24-year-old with Albon either taking the second AlphaTauri seat or dropping down into a test driver role.
The latter could be the more likely as Yuki Tsunoda is expected to be announced as Gasly’s 2021 team-mate.