F1: Perez consoles engineer after Abu Dhabi DNF
Alex Albon has lifted the lid on his thoughts since being dropped from Red Bull’s driver lineup ahead of next season. The British-born Thai racer will take up the role of test and reserve driver for 2021 with Sergio Perez having signed a one-year deal to partner Max Verstappen.
Albon struggled throughout the 2020 campaign, claiming just two podiums all season and rarely laying a glove on his quicker and more experienced team-mate.
The decision by Red Bull chief Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner to replace Albon marks their third change of driver in as many years.
Daniel Ricciardo left after the end of the 2018 season to join Renault, before his replacement Pierre Gasly was dropped mid-season in favour of the Thai hopeful during last year’s summer break.
Albon posted a statement to Instagram on Sunday, telling fans that he is disappointed with the news but already has his sights set on a return to the sport in 2022.
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“I can’t lie guys, it hurts,” he wrote. “I gave it everything out there, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“I want to say a huge thank you to all of you that supported me throughout this year, especially my Thai fans. With all the different opinions out there, I always had you guys to push me through it.
“I’m not giving up, I’ve poured my life into this and I won’t let it stop here. I have more to give and my focus is getting back for 2022 and to wave the Thai flag again!”
Explaining the decision to move for Perez, Horner told Autosport on Friday that while Albon remains a valued member of the team, replacing him with the Mexican could prove to be a sensible choice.
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“This year’s car has been tricky,” said Horner. “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 the 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.”
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