Formula 1 news: Alex Albon’s return to the Formula 1 paddock as a racing driver has been confirmed. Albon will be driving for Williams Formula 1 team in 2022. However, Mercedes have tried to protect their power unit information from the Red Bull team.
Albon, currently a Red Bull test driver, is made to sign a contract with Williams with clauses that help protect the power unit information. Toto Wolff confirmed the same as they feared Albon could put their intellectual property at risk.
Wolff also added that they respect their allied teams to pick their drivers with full authority. However, they wanted to protect themselves as Alex Albon is a Red Bull driver. As a result, Albon will be severing ties with Red Bull in order to join Williams.
Red Bull, however, have added clauses that might make it easier for Albon to join the team again once his Williams stint is done in the next few years. Mercedes weren’t very keen on Albon joining their ally team as Horner revealed a few days ago.
Formula 1 news: Albon has been made to add clauses which prevent him sharing information with Red Bull
Albon will be driving alongside Nicholas Latifi, who was retained for another year after scoring his first Formula 1 points this year at Hungary. For Albon to join Williams, he needed to be released from the Red Bull drivers’ programme.
As a result, the 25-year-old Thai-British driver was free to join any team he wanted. However, with limited options and successful negotiations, they ended up going with Williams. Williams’ first choice, Valtteri Bottas was also in running for Albon’s seat.
Bottas however, decided to go with Alfa Romeo, who had two open seats for 2022 after Kimi’s retirement. Which made the decision more streamlined for both Albon and the Williams team. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that they have added an option to retain Albon in 2023.
With all four Red Bull seats occupied, for now, they might need Albon’s services again soon if the team is not happy with the performance they are getting from the current drivers.
Alex Albon’s performance in Formula 1 so far
2022 would be Alex Albon’s third season in Formula 1. Albon was promoted to Toro Rosso in 2019 after he finished 3rd in the 2018 F2 Championship with DAMS. Midseason in his Toro Rosso run in 2019, Albon was called up to Red Bull (then Aston Martin Red Bull) due to poor performance from Pierre Gasly.
Albon’s 2019 season performance was promising enough for Red Bull as they decided to retain him for another year. He ended up scoring points in 8 out of 9, with the best result being a P4 in Japan.
Alex’s 2021 run, however, could not quite live up to Red Bull’s expectations as he was dropped at the end of the season like Pierre Gasly. His infamous words “They race me so hard” in France were the final nail in the coffin, that is his 2021 contract with Red Bull.
However, Horner and Red Bull are impressed with Albon’s performance on the simulator and in testing for this season. He has played a vital part in setting up the car, which is currently the fastest on the grid.