In 2019, when Alex Albon arrived at Red bull, many deemed him a perfect ‘Stimulus’ for Christian Horner and his F1 team. Just about two years later, the British-Thai driver has been shown the doors by Red bull. So, both the fans and sports experts got every reason to question the Red Bull young driver program. Still, there is much to debate, discuss, and question than what we hear or see in the same respect around.
Alex Albon was inconsistent with his performances: Christian Horner.
Alex Albon joined Red bull in 2019 as a potential replacement for former Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly. Despite getting an engine penalty within his first race, he stormed to secure fifth place eventually.
Coming to the 2020 season, mostly marred by the Pandemic issue, Alex put some promising performances on display. He looked set to secure a podium finish in the Austrian Grand Prix when a minor collision with Lewis hamilton’s car pushed him to the gravel.
The British-thai driver did bring some more notable performances during the 2020 season. Still, those were not enough to save his 2021 seat.
“We all wanted Alex to keep his seat. He has potential, but he lacked the consistency,” Team Principal Christian Horner stated to famous sports daily.
What made Red bull part ways with Alex Albon?
If we look at his statistics with Red bull, Albon stood 0.686sec slower than Verstappen across all the races and further brought along an average seventh spot for the qualifying session. His average finishing position from a total of sixteen races( where he made it to the chequered flag) is seventh — five places below Verstappen.
Hence, we can quote him as ‘underperforming given to his stature of being the second driver of the second-best team on the grid.
There were just seven instances across the 2020 season when Albon stayed 0.5sec short of Verstappen during the qualifying session.
British GP qualifying came up as a nightmare for Albon. Right after a practice crash, he got knocked out in Q2, qualifying just above Nico Hülkenberg. We must mention that it was the first race for Nico Hulkenberg in a Formula 1 car since Abu Dhabi 2019.
Albon’s poor run cost him a spot in the Red Bull F1 team
His poor run continued during the qualifying session in Russia as he got placed on the P10 on the grid. On the other side, his teammate Verstappen put through a stern challenge to their rival Mercedes for pole position.
Red Bull was left with all the embarrassment of not having two capable drivers in their lot that can give a tough run to Mercedes during the entire season. Besides, their dreams and ambitions of securing a constructor championship went down in pieces.
Christian Horner admitted to Albon’s difficulties in coping with the changing specifications of the Red bull car, from session to session. As per him, these changes made it challenging for Albon to adapt to the new car. His struggles finally pushed the Red bull team to make him a reserve driver at the end of the 2020 season.
So now, after parting ways with Red bull, he may look forward to a new start with bigger and better challenges en route.
It was too hard for Reed bull to give up on Sergio Perez
Albon could have got another chance if Sergio Perez would not have enjoyed a prolific run in the 2020 season. His performance was simply irresistible, and Red bull did not want to let go of this chance.
“It was an unusual gift to have a driver like Sergio Perez on the market. We didn’t have to rush to act. We could sound out the whole season and analyze our driver’s situation. All in all, it made the most sense for us to team Sergio with Max,” said Christian Horner.
Well, it’s not just about Sergio Perez’s performance in the 2020 season. His racing skills are simply brilliant and capable enough to back his teammate while pressurizing his teammate’s opponents. So, Max can easily get on with his mission to accumulate those crucial championship points for his team. Furthermore, his exceptional knowledge of Mercedes‘ engines comes as a big plus point.
RB16 is surely not an ‘easy car’ to drive on. Still, Alex’s struggles while backing his teammate in crucial races have eventually gone against him. Hence, regardless of all the debates and controversies, red bull has every reason to justify this decision.