Red Bull will not swap Alex Albon out of its line-up before the end of the 2020 Formula 1 season, team principal Christian Horner insists.

Albon has had a difficult first full-season at Red Bull and his struggles continued with a disappointing performance at the Portuguese Grand Prix, finishing outside of the points in 11th and a lap down on teammate Max Verstappen.

Horner, who said earlier in the weekend that Red Bull wanted Albon to “claim” his seat with some strong performances in Portugal and Imola, stressed the team will not be making any changes to its line-up this

“Obviously it’s been a difficult race for him,” Horner said. “So we need to look at all of the data, all of the information, try to understand why, for example, his tyre wear for example was significantly higher. But plenty to look at, plenty to understand and obviously he’ll need to bounce back in less than a week’s time.

“We’re committed to Alex for this year,” he added. “Everybody in the team wants him to lay claim to the seat next year.

“He’s a great guy, we believe he does have talent. He’s still only in second year of Formula 1. And it’s tough.

“It’s mentally tough, it’s tough going up against Max. He’s showed he can bounce back previously and I really hope for him that he can bounce back from a difficult weekend here in Imola next weekend.”

Despite Pierre Gasly’s impressive form at sister team AlphaTauri, Horner has said that Red Bull would only look outside of its talent pool if it did ultimately decided to replace Albon for 2021.

Free agents Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg have both been linked to Red Bull and are understood to be in the frame should the Milton Keynes squad opt not to continue with the Thai racer.

“There’s not so many races left in the season and it’s getting to that time of year where we need to start thinking about next year, obviously,” Horner explained.

“So I think within the next few weeks we’re going to have to make a decision. So obviously we know what all the options are.

“I think any of those drivers would obviously pick Red Bull as a priority over any other seat so I would imagine they would wait to see what the decision is.”

 

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