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.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing