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Red Bull F1 team makes first option move on Albon

Red Bull has offered Williams driver Alex Albon a first option on his Formula 1 future, Autosport has learned.

Alex Albon, Williams

Alex Albon, Williams

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Albon has been the subject of intense speculation over his future in recent weeks, with reports linking him to Red Bull as Sergio Perez's replacement, as well as the vacant Mercedes seat in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's shock Ferrari move for 2025.

While speculative reports Red Bull offered Albon a multi-year contract from 2025 are believed to be inaccurate, Autosport has learned that Albon's former team is looking to secure a first option on the 27-year-old's services.

If Albon agrees, it means Red Bull has the choice to bring him back into the fold for three years starting in 2026, after his current Williams deal runs out.

It would be a lucrative option for the Anglo-Thai and a step closer to a return to a top team, but also limit his manoeuvring room on the silly season market, which has since been thrown wide open by Hamilton's bombshell move.

When asked if there had been conversations about his future at the Williams 2024 launch, Albon said: "I would be denying it if I said that there [haven't] been questions and general chats surrounding around that, but truthfully it's not really personally my area, that's more my management. My focus is on driving.

"Where I stand is, I'm very excited to see how this FW46 develops, I want to see how the car feels in Bahrain and the subsequent four, five, six races and really get a feel for the progression that I hope we've made as a team.

"My whole focus is on Williams and that's where I see myself. The rate of progression to me is also very important, so time will tell."

Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing

Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

He added: "I feel like I'm very close to my peak. There are always improvements to be done and there are still areas to improve, but generally, with my experience now and where I am, I feel like I am deserving of a car that can score podiums and fight for wins. And that's just being totally honest with how I see myself.

"More than anything, I want that team to be Williams and that's where I put all my work and all my efforts into.

"It's very clear to me, especially when you see the driver market, there's a huge interest in teams wanting the same driver for '25 and '26. That's how it looks like it's playing out. And let's see about that."

Albon's last remark suggests that a lot of teams are looking for constant driver line-ups between 2025 and 2026, when F1 shifts to all-new chassis and power unit regulations, so a stable line-up is one less factor to take into account.

Williams team principal James Vowles confirmed Albon is still contracted to the team for 2025, but when asked if he would stand in his way if a suitable offer came in for next year, he replied: "Should any decision go that way, it's because I'm very clear in my mind that I've made decisions that are correct for the team's long-term goals and not the short term."

When pressed on whether his 2025 deal precludes any possibilities of looking elsewhere, Albon said: "Let's see. Time will tell. But my focus is on 2024, let's keep it like that.

"The real focus is on making sure that we make progress for 2025. Yeah, that's really where I'm at.

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

Alex Albon, Williams Racing

Photo by: Williams

"Realistically I want to be with the team. If the team are where I want them to be, it will be a long-term contract. We're gonna go all the way or nothing."

Albon previously joined Red Bull midway through his 2019 rookie season after being promoted from AlphaTauri to replace Pierre Gasly.

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Struggling alongside Max Verstappen, he stayed with the team until the end of 2020 before being dropped in favour of Perez.

Albon has since rebuilt his career with strong 2022 and 2023 campaigns for Williams, helping the Grove team move up to seventh in the F1 standings last year.

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