“He Had His Chance”: No Return for Former F1 Red Bull Driver


| LAST UPDATE 08/31/2023

By Olivia Smith
Alex Albon Helmut Marko
Mark Thompson via Getty Images

Once Helmut Marko makes up his mind, that is a done deal. If he really has anything to say about it, Thai and British-born Alex Albon will not be making his return to Red Bull anytime soon. The former Austrian driver for British Motor Racing from the early 70s, who now works as a consultant for Red Bull, said, "[Albon] has a very tough and difficult life. He has already had his chance. He has improved remarkably since then, but at the moment, there is no driver who is on Max's level."

In 2019, Albon was brought onto the Red Bull duo to replace a lacking-in-confidence French Pierre Gasly. The young Thai representative was upgraded from junior Red Bull team Toro Rosso (now called AlphaTauri) into the senior second-ranked team. Albon only played nine rounds in the second half of the 2019 season, but he made a strong impression with team principal Christian Horner. Horner told F1 Magazine, "Alex has impressed me all weekend with his approach, feedback, and pace." Bearing in mind, Albon was joining a duo, with the other half being Max Verstappen, before winning two Constructors Championships. Comparing oneself to Verstappen is a challenging task, and for half the season, Albon showed promising prospects. 

Alex Albon Williams Red Bull
@alex_albon via Instagram
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However, it wasn't to last going into the 2020 season. After renewing his contract that year, Albon lost confidence and fell to the midfield with a seventh-place overall finish, behind McLaren, Renault (Alpine), and Racing Point (Aston Martin) drivers. Albon blamed his disappointing season on not getting into sync with a new car he was trying to understand. He said, "I think I was slightly down on experience." That same year, Gasly shocked the world after his demotion when he took home his first podium and win with Toro Rosso at the Monza course in the Italian Grand Prix. It seemed the driver Albon had replaced rediscovered his confidence and surpassed and passed the new Red Bull driver himself. 

Marko's statement surprised reporters, considering Albon's fantastic season with Williams. Despite being at the bottom of the pecking order, Albon is ranked 13th at the season's midpoint. Marko may have to change his mind if Albon makes any more improvements.

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