Robert Doornbos says that if Alex Albon can score another podium in the final two races, it will be enough for him to keep his seat for 2021.
Red Bull have yet to decide whether to keep Albon for next season or replace him with one of Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.
The Thai driver did his chances the world of good by taking the second podium of his career and season at the Bahrain Grand Prix,
However, he only took P3 because Perez retired with an engine failure ahead of him, and Max Verstappen was not particularly impressed given the sizeable gap between the two.
“I don’t think that if you are 30 or 40 seconds behind your team-mate, that’s very good,” the 23-year-old told Ziggo Sport.
“I can just be honest about that, right?
“It was a shame for Checo too because I think he drove a very strong race. It’s nice for Alex that he is on the podium.”
Doornbos, who briefly drove in F1 for Minardi and Red Bull, agrees with Verstappen that Albon was too far off his team-mate, but thinks the result could have secured him his seat for 2021 nonetheless, given Helmut Marko’s preference.
“A 40-second gap to your team-mate is not to be justified…[but] with podiums, he could save that seat just like that,” he said on Ziggo.
“Marko has said many times that he hopes to keep him, but Albon has to earn it for himself.”
Doornbos then went one step further a day later, going as far as saying that if Albon could make it two top-three finishes from two races, the spot would be his for sure.
“Exactly what he [Verstappen] says, that you still lose more than a second per lap…” he said.
“On the other hand, you have Helmut Marko who has always said ‘I hope Alex retains his seat with us’. He just wishes to give him it.
“If he is back on the podium next weekend, Albon will have that seat in spite of the fact he has had a dramatic season and can’t play a role for Max.”
Perez, meanwhile, has stated that if Red Bull don’t offer him a seat for next season, he would take a sabbatical rather than look for opportunities elsewhere in motorsport.