Alexander Albon says his shock move up to Red Bull for the remainder of the Formula 1 season acts as a “big jump into the deep end”, calling the opportunity “surreal”.

Red Bull announced on Monday that F1 rookie Albon would be moving up from its sister team, Toro Rosso, to replace Pierre Gasly for the final nine races of the year. Gasly returns to Toro Rosso, the team he raced for in 2017 and 2018, after a disappointing start to the year.

Reacting to the news on social media on Monday evening, Albon gave thanks to Red Bull for handing him the opportunity.

“Surreal to have been given this massive opportunity,” Albon wrote. “Can’t thank [Red Bull] enough for believing in me and making this possible. It’s a big jump into the deep end, but I’ve got my swimming shorts on!

“Thanks to all the guys at Toro Rosso, especially Franz Tost for the massive opportunity in F1 and never-ending support throughout my first year!

“Now to focus for my first race with the team in Spa.”

Albon’s promotion into the Red Bull seat comes just 12 races into his F1 career, having only been signed by Toro Rosso at the end of 2018 following an impressive year in Formula 2.

The Anglo-Thai driver will now be evaluated by Red Bull as it considers who will be Max Verstappen’s teammate for the 2020 season.

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