Days after both Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team manager Helmut Marko and team principal Christian Horner stated that Pierre Gasly would not be replaced before the 2019 Formula 1 season ended, the team have confirmed that Alexander Albon will replace Gasly beginning in the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
This 44-lap race around the 19-turn, 4.352-mile (7.004-kilometer) Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps road course in Stavelot, Belgium is scheduled to take place in under three weeks on Sunday, September 1.
“Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula 1 drivers under contract who can be rotated between Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso. The team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.
“Everyone at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing looks forward to welcoming Alex to the Team and supporting him during the next phase of his F1 career.”
Albon, the rookie who Marko had to negotiate to get out of his Formula E contract with Nissan in order for him to compete in Formula 1 this season, spent the first 12 races of the 21-race season driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso, the Red Bull Racing junior team.
In these 12 races, the 23-year-old Thai-British driver recorded five top 10 finishes, including a career-high sixth place finish in the dramatic German Grand Prix. He scored 16 points and currently sits in 15th place in the driver standings.
While teammate and former Red Bull Racing driver Daniil Kvyat sits ahead of Albon in ninth place in the driver standings with 27 points with six top 10 finishes, including a third place finish in the German Grand Prix, Albon had shown more consistency, posting an average finish of 11.67 compared to Kvyat’s 12.00.
Of the other five Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing drivers, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is the closest to Gasly in the standings. He sits in fifth place with 132 points, 69 points ahead of the 23-year-old Frenchman, and he has scored 75 points in the last six races alone.
Gasly is set to replace Albon at Toro Rosso for the remainder of the 2019 season. He drove for the team as a rookie last season and had an impressive year, outscoring rookie teammate Brendon Hartley 29 to 4 with five top 10 finishes, including a career-high finish of fourth place.