Red Bull boss Christian Horner has said the team is “committed” to Alex Albon for the remainder of the 2020 Formula 1 season, amid speculation about his future.
Horner insists there are no plans to replace the Anglo-Thai driver for the final races, although this is an obvious opportunity to give early mileage to a potential replacement if the decision is made to make a change. .
Horner noted in Portugal last weekend that Albon was expected to show signs of progress over teammate Max Verstappen in Portugal and “particularly at Imola”, hinting he was against a deadline to secure his seat for 2021.
In addition, Horner also confirmed that if Albon is dropped, the team will look outside their usual pool for an experienced replacement for 2021, with Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez being the main contenders.
“The reality is that there aren’t that many races left in the season,” he said. “And we come to that time of the year where we obviously need to start thinking about next year, so I think in the next few weeks we’re going to have to make a decision.”
He added: “I think you have to look at all the options, and I don’t think we would do our job if we didn’t look at the situation in F1, as there are obviously drivers who have experience. and significant capabilities, and this is a very unusual situation, that might be available. “
However, when asked by Autosport if a quick decision would open up the possibility of trying a different driver in the final races – with free agent Hulkenberg available to step in – Horner played down the suggestion.
“Well, we are committed to Alex for this year,” he said.
“And like I said, everyone in the squad wants him to claim the seat next year. He’s a great guy. We think he’s talented.
“He’s still only in his second year of F1. And it’s tough, it’s very tough. It’s tough mentally. It’s tough to compete with Max.
“And he’s shown he can bounce back before, and I really hope for him that he can bounce back after a tough weekend here at Imola next weekend.”
Hulkenberg and Perez both speak to other teams, with the Mexican being heavily linked with a Williams seat. However, Horner isn’t afraid of losing a chance to hire them if they sign elsewhere first.
“Well, I think any of these drivers would obviously put Red Bull as a priority over all other seats, so I imagine they would wait and see what the decision is.”