Alexander Albon originally began the season at Toro Rosso having made a last-minute decision to join the junior Red Bull team. Having impressed throughout the first half of the season he was part of a mid-season swap to Red Bull at the expense of Pierre Gasly.
The Thai driver has since proved his worth at the senior Red Bull outfit during his seven races at the team, where he received his best career finish in fourth place at the Japanese Grand Prix and alongside other impressive performances it has been enough to earn a drive in 2020.
Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, said, “Alex has performed extremely well since his debut with the team in Belgium and his results – seven finishes in the top six – speak for themselves.
“There is plenty of potential still to unlock and we look forward to seeing Alex alongside Max [Verstappen] in 2020.”
Albon himself has had a rapid rise through the ranks at Formula 1 and with half a season of getting used to his new surroundings, he is keen to have an impact further up the grid.
“This year has been an incredible year for me and getting the call up to Red Bull mid-season was already a big step, so now I will use the learnings from this season and use the experience to improve and fight at the front in 2020,” said Albon.
Tough blow for Toro Rosso duo
Whilst Albon celebrates a 2020 seat at Red Bull, the Toro Rosso pairing of Gasly and Daniil Kvyat will look back on their time at the senior team and will be ruing missed opportunities.
Gasly began the season as number two driver to Verstappen, but after a tough start to the season he was dropped. However, his form since returning to the team that earned him his dream move has been impressive and enough to retain the Frenchman for a further year to prove himself once again.
Kvyat was demoted from Red Bull in 2016 after the Russian proved his inexperience, crashing into other drivers frequently and attaining an unwanted nickname amongst other drivers, ‘the torpedo’.
The Russian took time away from Formula 1 and made a comeback this year, where he has proven a new level of maturity.
Upon retaining a seat for 2020 he said, “We’ve achieved great things together, like our podium this year in Germany, so I hope to deliver a very strong season again for this team next year.”
Major blow for Hulkenberg
Current Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg rather unfortunately finds himself without a seat in 2020 with Esteban Ocon announced as his replacement.
With Red Bull and Toro Rosso confirming their drivers for next term, it leaves the German with another potential avenue closed off, leaving an experienced driver without a team.
The only team with a seat left unfilled for 2020 is Williams, who confirmed that Robert Kubica will not be racing for the team next year. However the Pole’s vacant seat is tipped to be taken by Formula 2 youngster Nicholas Latifi who has already impressed in several practice sessions throughout the season.