Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has confirmed Alex Albon will remain with the team for the 2021 F1 season in a test and reserve role following the news Sergio Perez will assume his race seat next year.

The move ensures Perez lands arguably his most competitive opportunity in F1 in what will be his 11th season in the top flight following a headline-grabbing campaign in the Racing Point that yielded his first win (in 190 starts) at the Sakhir Grand Prix.

However, it means Albon’s F1 race career has come to a standstill after little more than a season in the Red Bull Racing team. It follows a year in which the Thai racer was comfortably out-performed by team-mate Max Verstappen and became mired in a number of on-track incidents and mistakes, even if he did land a pair of maiden podiums.

 

 

The decision marks a third driver change alongside Verstappen in less than two years after Albon himself replaced Pierre Gasly midway through his first season in F1.

With Red Bull’s short statement confirming Perez’s appointment, the quote from Horner is focused on Albon and emphasising how ‘difficult’ the decision was to replace him.

“Alex is a valued member of the Team and we thought long and hard about this decision. Having taken our time to evaluate all the relevant data and performances we have decided that Sergio is the right driver to partner Max for 2021 and look forward to welcoming him to Red Bull Racing. 

Alex remains an important part of our Team as Test and Reserve Driver with a key focus on 2022 development and we would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution.”

The deal means there is just one seat left vacant for the 2021 F1 season at Mercedes, though Lewis Hamilton is expected to be confirmed imminently following the news Toto Wolff will remain on board as team principal for another three years.