Alex Albon has described as “a big deal” confirmation he will drive for Red Bull in the 2020 Formula One season.
The Thai-British driver has been a revelation since being promoted from ‘sister’ team Toro Rosso over the summer break as team-mate to Max Verstappen, earning rich praise from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Albon has scored 68 points for Red Bull over his seven races, just four behind Verstappen, including a career-high finish of fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The delighted 23-year-old said: “I am really excited to be partnering Max again for next year and I know how fortunate I am to be given this opportunity.
“I’m hugely thankful that Red Bull have put their trust in me and believed in my results since I joined the team and for them to keep me in the car next year is a big deal.
“This year has been an incredible year for me, and getting the call up to Red Bull mid-season was already a big step, so now I will use the learning from this season and use the experience to improve and fight at the front in 2020.”
Horner feels Albon fully merits the extended contract, saying: “Alex has performed extremely well since his debut with the team in Belgium and his results – seven finishes in the top-six – speak for themselves.
“It’s extremely hard to deny that level of consistency, and in tandem with a growing reputation as a tenacious, fiercely committed racer, Alex has proved that he fully deserves to continue his progress with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
“There is plenty of potential still to unlock and we look forward to seeing Alex alongside Max in 2020.”
Toro Rosso, meanwhile, have confirmed an unchanged pairing for 2020 of Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly, who made way for Albon at Red Bull after a poor first half of the season.
The Frenchman has since settled at Toro Rosso after being with the team for five of the last six races in 2017 and through all of 2018 before earning his call-up to Red Bull for this season.
“Toro Rosso has always given me the best chances to perform every season and I’m super motivated and dedicated to repaying them with the best results possible next year,” said Gasly.
“Toro Rosso has been improving year after year and it’s great to be a part of the journey. I’m very excited to see what we can achieve together in 2020.”
Russian 25-year-old Kvyat, meanwhile, will start a fourth season with Toro Rosso in a yo-yo career which has seen him dropped by both the Faenza-based squad and Red Bull at various stages.
Earning another shot with Toro Rosso, Kvyat said: “I’m really happy because I feel very comfortable with everyone here, I know the team and they know me very well, so it’s easy to understand everyone’s needs.
“We’ve achieved great things together, like our podium this year in Germany, so I hope to deliver a very strong season again for this team next year.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue in Formula One and I will give it my all to show the best possible performances next year. I’m really looking forward to more exciting times together.”
🗣️"I’m delighted to retain Pierre and Daniil for next season. This young but experienced duo, combined with hopefully a competitive car, will be the best factors to achieve a very successful season in 2020" – Franz Tost
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) November 12, 2019
Team principal Franz Tost felt both Gasly and Kvyat deserved another chance together.
“Both drivers have shown really good performances this season and they have proven in their years in F1 to be very competitive, able to exploit the car’s potential and give valuable feedback to make improvements,” said Tost.
“This young but experienced duo, combined with hopefully a competitive car, will be the best factors to achieve a very successful season in 2020 and I’m looking forward to this extended cooperation.”