Albon confirmed at Toro Rosso for 2019

  • 26 Nov 2018 17:32
  • comments 3
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Toro Rosso has confirmed that Alexander Albon will partner Daniil Kvyat at the team in 2019. The Thai-British racer has been competing in the FIA Formula 2 championship this year, finishing in third behind fellow soon-to-be F1 drivers George Russell and Lando Norris.

Albon signed a deal with Nissan to race in Formula E for the 2018/19 season but skipped pre-season testing at Valencia as rumours linking him to a Formula 1 drive gained speed.

The 22-year-old spent three years in Formula Renault 2.0, coming third in the championship in 2014. The following year, he graduated to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, before making the jump to GP3 where he battled for the 2016 title against Charles Leclerc.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year," Albon said.  "Throughout my single seater career, I went through a few ups and downs. I was dropped by Red Bull in 2012, so from then I knew my road to Formula 1 was going to be a lot harder.

"I worked really hard and tried to impress every time I got in the car, and I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr Marko for believing in me and giving me a second chance. I’ve always been motorsport mad and since I first got in a car it’s been my dream to be in Formula 1. To be given this opportunity is just incredible.”

Albon's confirmation comes at the expense of Brendon Hartley, who joined the Red Bull junior squad towards the end of the 2017 season. Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost believes that Albon showed his maturity in Formula 2 this season, which earned him the seat.

"Alexander had an impressive Formula 2 season in 2018," he said. "He won four races and finished the Championship third. The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in Formula 1. Scuderia Toro Rosso is very much looking forward to 2019, as with Daniil and Alex we have two young, very strong and competitive drivers.”

Replies (3)

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  • Good to have an asian driver back in F1. A bit sad to see Hartley go, but it was pretty clear he was just a spare, and Red Bull has ditched better drivers before.

    • + 1
    • Nov 26 2018 - 17:54
  • Seems like the pipe is starting to run dry for Toro Rosso. Although Albon did show some potential in the second half of the season. Hell, he finished ahead of golden boy Norris. I think this is well deserved. However, Alvin's record so far hasn't been on par with previous graduates from the Red Bull junior programme. I wonder if the bad experiences of previous junior drivers is keeping some from taking Red Bull and instead going with other academies.

    • + 0
    • Nov 27 2018 - 03:56
  • Norbert

    Posts: 87

    I was sad when I read the Brendon –gone headline. I thought they were going to keep him as he improved and got his feet under him at the end of the season somewhat. He was looking quite competitive with that new Honda set up. He was a good soldier where a couple races were compromised by having to take a penalty to test engine parts for RBR’s 2019 car. He was wiped out by Leclerc and Stroll, both of whom were driving bonkers at the time. Stroll had been asked over radio to slow down in that corner back in practice. In another race his front end fell off and almost killed him.

    But I guess the worst part was that he didn’t drive fast enough at the beginning. New drivers got to burst out like a greyhound when the gate opens I guess and sometimes it looked like he dawdled. I will admit my jaw hit the floor when he got married one month before his F1 debut! Got to be distracted psychologically by splitting priorities (and yearnings). That could have easily been put off until now.

    I will miss seeing Brendon Hartley in the line up next season because he was a good character. Stop frame the handbags at dawn tape. I think, unlike Ocon, Hartley could beat up Max Verstappen in a fist fight. Toro Rosso used him a bit like a dish rag and I reckon he hardly took home a bean over expenses. Overall, I wish he could stay on. But I get it, I guess. I agree that the top three finishers in the F2 championship should get a shot in F1 and I’m happy for Alexander Albon.

    • + 0
    • Nov 27 2018 - 15:03

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