Alex Albon will face a year on the Formula 1 sidelines if he fails to secure his Red Bull drive for 2021, with team boss Christian Horner confirming he will not return to AlphaTauri.

Red Bull is currently weighing up whether to continue with Albon for next season or replace the under-fire Thai racer with Sergio Perez, who is without a drive for 2021 after being dropped by Racing Point in favour of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Horner continued to publicly back Albon, who secured his second podium of the year at the Bahrain Grand Prix to add to his maiden rostrum at Mugello and remain in contention to secure his position at Red Bull. Perez has confirmed that it is either a Red Bull seat or a sabbatical for him in 2021.

AlphaTauri is expected to promote Red Bull and Honda protege Yuki Tsunoda from F2 to partner Pierre Gasly at the Faenza outfit next year with Daniil Kvyat set to make way, and Horner’s latest comments indicate that is the case.

"I don't believe he [Albon] forms part of Franz's [Tost] plans for next year," said Horner. "So it is very much a Red Bull seat or you are on the bench.

"The focus is on giving him that opportunity. He has got two races, he did a good job last weekend getting on the podium, his second podium in Formula 1.

"He has had a good first practice, a good start to the weekend here and [has] two more weekends to demonstrate that he is absolutely the right guy to be alongside Max in the car next year.

"We will give him all the support we possibly can to achieve that goal.”

Asked whether a year on the bench would be the best solution for Albon should he fail to keep his Red Bull drive, Horner said that scenario is “not something we’re contemplating at the moment.”

"I guess when we get to the end of the year we will evaluate all of those options,” he added.

"He is on a long-term agreement, as all Red Bull drivers are when they join the team.

"Our focus at the moment is on the race seat and giving him the opportunity to demonstrate he is making significant progress, building on that podium last weekend and this early practice form."

 

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