Red Bull put "facts over emotion" in decision to drop Albon for F1 2021

Christian Horner feels Red Bull had to "trust the facts opposed to emotion" in replacing Alexander Albon for 2021 after he failed to cut the gap to Max Verstappen

Red Bull put "facts over emotion" in decision to drop Albon for F1 2021

Red Bull announced on Friday that it had signed outgoing Racing Point driver Sergio Perez for next season to replace Albon, who has dropped into a reserve and test role.

Red Bull has been considering Albon's future for some time after he struggled to match team-mate Verstappen through 2020, but wanted to give him until the end of the season to stake a claim for the seat.

TOP 50: Autosport's best drivers of 2020

But after Perez scored a victory for Racing Point at Sakhir and Albon returned just two podium finishes all season long, it took the decision to draft in the Mexican driver.

While Horner felt that the RB16 had "improved significantly" over the course of the year, he said Albon's gap to Verstappen had remained the same throughout the year.

"You take what you've got, don't you?" Horner told select media including Autosport when asked if Albon had been unlucky with the RB16 car.

"He's in Formula 1 and graduated to F1 because of Red Bull which he's very grateful for. He's still part of the team.

"This year's car has been tricky. I think it's improved significantly throughout the year, particularly in the last third of the year.

"But, again, it's what you make of it, isn't it? I think the gap between Alex and Max has largely remained consistent from Austria to certainly Bahrain 2. He had a good race in Abu Dhabi.

"Everything else, he's done brilliantly well. He's a great racer, he's an absolute gentleman within the team. He's very popular within a team because he's such a nice guy. That's what's made this decision harder.

"But when you look at the data and you trust the facts opposed to emotion, Sergio is the logical choice."

Horner confirmed that Albon was informed of the decision on Friday, and was "obviously disappointed" but "incredibly mature" in accepting the news.

"He's grateful for the opportunity and support that he's had this year, and obviously determined to do the best he can to get back into a race seat for 2022," Horner said.

Asked how Albon could make a case for a race seat in his test and reserve role, Horner said Red Bull would "see how things unfold".

"He's got an important role in terms of development with 2022 and tyre testing, and obviously the development of the 2022 car in the virtual world," Horner said.

"We'll see how circumstances unfold for 2022, either within Red Bull or external to Red Bull."

Red Bull has struggled to field two competitive cars since Daniel Ricciardo's exit from the team at the end of 2018, with Albon's predecessor, Pierre Gasly, experiencing similar struggles during his 12-race stint at the team last year.

Horner said it was crucial for Red Bull to give Verstappen a competitive team-mate to help in the fight against Mercedes after being left without a rear gunner at races this year.

"I think it's vital if you want to mount a serious challenge in either of the championships, that you need both cars performing at a level," Horner said.

"We saw that very clearly in Abu Dhabi, for example. So you need that consistency, in order to take on the likes of Mercedes in either the drivers' or teams' championship."

shares
comments
Perez's F1 form made it "impossible" for Red Bull not to take him

Previous article

Perez's F1 form made it "impossible" for Red Bull not to take him

Next article

Verstappen hopes Perez can make it easier to fight Mercedes in F1

Verstappen hopes Perez can make it easier to fight Mercedes in F1
Load comments
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021