Aston Martin Red Bull Racing have announced that Alexander Albon will be racing for them for the remainder of the 2019 season.
Albon has impressed in his rookie season while driving for Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso. The London-born Thai racer, has taken 16 points from the opening 12 rounds of the season and has earned plenty of admirers for his surprisingly mature performances.
He takes the place of Pierre Gasly, who has been demoted back down to Toro Rosso after a poor first half of the season. Thus far this campaign, the Frenchman has failed to get onto the podium and has picked up just 63 points. This is nearly three times fewer than his teammate Max Verstappen who also boasts two victories and a further three podium finishes.
Horner goes back on his word
Back in July, Red Bull boss Christian Horner reiterated that the team had 'No intention' of replacing Gasly mid-season despite his poor form.
“He’s our driver, we’re going to work with him, we will try to get the best out of him. He’s having a tough time at the moment, but we will do our best to support him through it," said Horner.
Just over a month later however and that has all changed. A statement on the Red Bull website says:
"Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula One drivers under contract who can be rotated between the Team 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."
The team are looking to recapture past glories and will need two drivers who can both compete at the front to achieve this. Gasly has not been up to the task and Red Bull have acted quickly to rectify this.
It is a typically ruthless decision by the Austrian team who famously pulled a similar stunt before the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix by swapping then Toro Rosso driver Verstappen with Daniil Kyvat.
Kyvat himself was also in contention for Gasly's seat. The Russian is ahead of Albon in the driver standings and earned a remarkable 3rd place at the German Grand Prix.
Albon will make his Red Bull debut at the Belgian Grand Prix in just under three weeks time.