Last week it was announced that Albon has sealed a return to the F1 grid next season with Williams, where he will partner his former DAMS Formula 2 teammate Nicholas Latifi having replaced the Mercedes-bound George Russell.

The Anglo-Thai made his grand prix debut with Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso in 2019 but was promoted after just 12 races in a seat swap with Pierre Gasly.

Following a difficult season-and-a-half as Max Verstappen’s teammate, Albon was replaced at the end of 2020 by Sergio Perez.

Since losing his Red Bull seat, Albon has spent this season dovetailing a reserve driver role at the Milton Keynes squad alongside racing in the DTM.

However, Russell’s promotion to Mercedes and Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement from F1 opened the door for Albon to return to the grid on a full-time basis.

Both Williams and Alfa Romeo expressed interest but Albon’s preference was always to join the nine-times constructors’ champions.

“I think Williams, they’re clearly a team on the way up,” Albon said.

“They’re both great teams, but looking at Williams, obviously the first thing is they look like they’re on the up, they’ve got the investment coming in. But I’ve also had the chance to visit the team and everyone seems very positive and optimistic. 

“They’re very keen to talk to me and to get involved in making this happen. It seemed like a great choice to get back onto the grid.”

Williams team boss Jost Capito confirmed he discussed Albon with the outgoing Russell, who is a close friend of Albon.

"I built a very close relationship with George through this season and of course he told me what he thinks of Alex and that they are personal friends as well," Capito said.

"It is very much appreciated what George thinks about Alex but I also had to be very rational about it. I wouldn't say it influenced, but it confirmed my decision.”

Albon admitted Russell was almost “too supportive” of him in his bid to secure a return to F1 with the Grove-based outfit.

“He was very supportive,” Albon explained. “Obviously George is a close friend of mine, but I would almost say too supportive.

“I remember the [Williams] board guys saying ‘We can’t really take George’s opinion because he is so supportive of you’. They were very friendly about that. 

“But I owe him a couple of beers. Hopefully, we can grab dinner and celebrate our moves together.”

Red Bull revealed after the Williams announcement that it had released Albon for but has retained a relationship that includes “future options”.

Capito stressed that Albon is completely free of his Red Bull ties and described his new signing as being “100% a Williams driver”.

However, the deal leaves the door open for Red Bull to potentially bring Albon back to the team if he impresses at Williams.

While Albon admits it would be “silly not to think” about a Red Bull return in the future, he insists he is not dwelling on “long-term” possibilities.

“A team like Red Bull is a team I’d consider coming back with,” he said. “At the moment though I’m not really thinking so long-term like that.

“It really feels like I’ve got to focus right now this year on my main priority, which is obviously getting us to win the championship.

“And then coming up next year, it will be solely on Williams and developing the car and making sure we have a good year and keep growing through that side.”