Red Bull Racing has confirmed that Alexander Albon will take Pierre Gasly’s seat for the remainder of the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Albon, 23, will move up into the seat as of the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of the month, with Gasly returning to Toro Rosso after just half a season with the senior Red Bull team.

Gasly has struggled to match teammate Max Verstappen during their time together at Red Bull thus far. Verstappen has claimed two race wins and picked up 181 points, while Gasly has only achieved a best finish of P4, scoring 63 points.

Despite Red Bull team boss Christian Horner saying in Hungary the team intended to keep Gasly in the seat until the end of the season, the decision has been taken to demote the Frenchman back to Toro Rosso.

"Alexander Albon is being promoted to the team to drive alongside Max, while Pierre will return to the Red Bull sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso," a statement from Red Bull reads.

"Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula One drivers under contract who can be rotated between the Team and Toro Rosso. The Team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.

"Everyone at the Team looks forward to welcoming Alex and supporting him during the next phase of his F1 career."

The move is reminiscent of Red Bull’s call to send Daniil Kvyat back to Toro Rosso four races into the 2016 season, when Verstappen took his seat.

Albon’s promotion comes just 12 races into his F1 career, with the Anglo-Thai racer having scored 16 points and a best finish of P6 to date at last month’s German Grand Prix.

After being part of Red Bull’s junior programme through 2012, Albon renewed ties with brand at the end of last year following an impressive season in Formula 2 that led to him being named as Brendon Hartley’s replacement for 2019.

Albon picked up his first F1 points on his second start, in Bahrain, before charging from a pit lane start to finish P10 in China in April.

A run to eighth place in Monaco was followed by Albon’s stand-out performance at the German Grand Prix where he ran in the top five for much of the race, only to cycle back to sixth in the closing stages.

While teammate Kvyat was able to score a podium at Hockenheim, it has not been enough to convince Red Bull of a return to its senior team.

 

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