Alexander Albon has admitted he was on the verge of quitting racing altogether after being dropped by the Red Bull junior programme in 2012.

The new Toro Rosso driver received confirmation from Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko that he’ll make his Formula 1 debut next season on Monday, the day after the 2018 season ended, while shopping for trainers and is naturally relishing his opportunity in 2019.

Driver Ratings - Abu Dhabi GP

Albon, who was part of Red Bull’s junior programme in 2012 only to be dropped after one year, says he wanted to stop racing after a frustrating year but rallied back to climb the junior categories ladder.

The Thai driver caught the eye as runner-up in the GP3 Series in 2016 and acted as George Russell’s final Formula 2 title challenger at the season finale in Abu Dhabi last week.

24 hours after ending his F2 season, Albon was provisionally still heading to Formula E having signed for Nissan e.dams but an 11th-hour deal was struck to release the 22-year-old from his contract to join Toro Rosso in F1.

“I was beyond excited as I have waited for this moment since I was six years old,” Albon said. “I can’t say that it came out of the blue, because I have been trying to resolve my situation with Nissan e.dams to allow me to join Toro Rosso for the past few months. I still couldn’t believe that it finally happened.”

“Very tough [to be dropped by Red Bull], it was a difficult year for me for numerous reasons, not least because of my results, but it made me work that much harder. I was on the brink of stopping racing all together. Since then, I knew I had to impress every time I drove and fortunately Dr. Marko gave me a second chance.

“I never gave up on it, I needed to believe that it could still happen. Having said that, I knew that my chance of going to F1 was very slim as I didn't have a proper budget.

“In reality, the only way I was going to have the opportunity was through Toro Rosso/Red Bull, but as we all know, it is not easy to impress Dr. Marko.”

Oliver Rowland has taken Albon’s vacated Nissan e.dams race seat for the 2018/19 Formula E season.

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