Red Bull is seeking to secure Alexander Albon’s Formula One return next season, with seats opening up at Alfa Romeo and Williams, while Mercedes is keen to place its new Formula E champion Nyck de Vries.
Albon, 25, drove for Red Bull’s main team last year but lost his seat to Mexican Sergio Perez, who has now been confirmed for 2022. The British-born Thai has been racing in the German Touring Cars (DTM) series.
“Alex deserves a seat in Formula One next year,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner told reporters at the Dutch Grand Prix.
“Williams and Alfa Romeo have both expressed interest and we’re keen to see him back racing in Formula One. Hopefully that can get resolved over the next few days.”
With Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen retiring at the end of the season and Williams’ George Russell lined up to replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes, Formula One is braced for a driver shake-up.
Bottas is expected to replace Raikkonen but there are doubts about the second Alfa seat, currently occupied by Italian Antonio Giovinazzi with engine provider Ferrari having a say on who fills it.
Albon is, however, driving an AF Corse Ferrari in the DTM with sponsorship from Red Bull’s AlphaTauri.
While Williams uses Mercedes engines, the team also has ties with Red Bull through boss Jost Capito who worked closely with the energy drink brand as a sponsor while he was head of Volkswagen Motorsport.
Asked whether Albon would be released from his contract if an offer came in from a team linked to Mercedes or Ferrari, Horner said Red Bull just wanted the British-born Thai to be racing again.
“We’ll accommodate whatever we can to ensure that he’s back in a race seat next year,” he said.
De Vries has also been linked to both Williams and Alfa but Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said Albon was key to events.
“At the moment it revolves around Alex Albon, who as Christian says, deserves a seat,” said the Austrian. “He’s a really good kid and he’s probably the main protagonist in the moving chairs.”
“Nyck has a guaranteed seat in Formula E with us and I’m in two minds.
“I wish him to be in Formula One but I don’t want to lose him for our Formula E campaign.”
“I really hope that Mercedes don’t block his opportunity at Williams. That would be a great, great shame.”
Horner explained that would be because of his links to Red Bull. “It would be a great shame if a driver were to pay the penalty for that. Hopefully that won’t come to play,” he added.
If no race seat was forthcoming, Albon would continue in a test and reserve role, added the boss.
“I think his preference would be Williams,” he added. “But obviously there’s a few hurdles. He’s had about four phone calls telling him not to go there from the team next door (Mercedes). I told him to ignore them.”