Horner Thought Alex Albon Could’ve Been ‘The Surprise Of The Season’

Alex Albon was axed by Red Bull at the end of 2020, after one-and-a-half seasons with the team in Formula One.

Alex Albon and Christian Horner in 2019 - Formula1news.co.uk

Alex Albon was promoted to Red Bull after around half a season in Formula One with Toro Rosso, with the Milton Keynes-based team deciding to drop Pierre Gasly for the British-Thai driver.

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Ultimately, Albon was also axed – and unlike Gasly, he didn’t immediately get another seat on the F1 grid.

Instead, he will spend 2021 as Red Bull’s reserve and test driver, while contesting DTM races which don’t clash with his F1 duties.

Season three of Netflix’s Drive To Survive (DTS) docuseries was released earlier this week, and in the second episode, which looks at the run-up to the 2020 season-opener in Austria, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he believes Albon “could be the surprise of the season.”

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“Max [Verstappen] is arguably the hottest property in Formula One at the moment. The thing about Max is he’s got this magic dust about him,” Horner said.

“The dream is to win a fifth World Championship, to make Max the youngest Drivers’ World Champion ever.

“Alex is Max’s team-mate. He had a really solid nine races for us [in the second half of the 2019 season], he put in a very strong performance.

“He could be the surprise of the season. With Max, With Alex, we’ve got two cars in the fight with Mercedes. This is our best shot to win this Championship, you know, since 2013,” Horner added.

However, things turned out rather differently, with Albon being comprehensively outpaced by Verstappen and rarely helping the Dutch ace take the fight to the two Mercedes.

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Despite being axed by Red Bull, Albon believes the team still has faith in him and a return to F1 could be on the cards in 2022.

“Obviously there’s no actual [F1] driving [this season] unless something happens,” Albon said earlier this month.

“I’ve got the DTM gig which I’ll do to the best of my ability, and on top of that the team knows what I’m capable of.

“They would have gotten rid of me – let’s be truthful – if they didn’t believe in me.

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“So on my side I know they still trust me, they still have faith in what I can do and we just have to see how things work out during this year and going into next year,” he added.