Red Bull Secures First Option on Alex Albon’s F1 Future

Red Bull Racing has extended a first-option offer to Williams' Alex Albon for his future in Formula 1, according to Autosport.

Mark Phelan

By Mark Phelan
Updated on March 12, 2024

Alex Albon Williams

Alex Albon has become a focal point of speculation regarding his career path amidst rumours of a potential move to Red Bull to replace Sergio Pérez or to fill the gap at Mercedes following Lewis Hamilton‘s unexpected switch to Ferrari in 2025.

Despite rumours of a multi-year deal from Red Bull starting in 2025, Autosport has clarified that Albon’s previous team aims to lock in a first-option agreement on the 27-year-old’s services.

Should Albon consent, Red Bull would secure the right to enlist him for a three-year stint beginning in 2026, subsequent to the conclusion of his current contract with Williams.

This arrangement would offer the Anglo-Thai driver a lucrative path back to a leading team, albeit at the cost of limiting his flexibility in the highly unpredictable transfer market, now further unsettled by Hamilton’s dramatic announcement.

Albon, when queried about his future during the Williams 2024 car launch, stated: “I would be denying it if I said that there [haven’t] been questions and general chats surrounding around that, but truthfully it’s not really personally my area, that’s more my management. My focus is on driving.

“Where I stand is, I’m very excited to see how this FW46 develops, I want to see how the car feels in Bahrain and the subsequent four, five, six races and really get a feel for the progression that I hope we’ve made as a team.

“My whole focus is on Williams and that’s where I see myself. The rate of progression to me is also very important, so time will tell.”

He added: “I feel like I’m very close to my peak. There are always improvements to be done and there are still areas to improve, but generally, with my experience now and where I am, I feel like I am deserving of a car that can score podiums and fight for wins. And that’s just being totally honest with how I see myself.

“More than anything, I want that team to be Williams and that’s where I put all my work and all my efforts into.

“It’s very clear to me, especially when you see the driver market, there’s a huge interest in teams wanting the same driver for ’25 and ’26. That’s how it looks like it’s playing out. And let’s see about that.”

Albon’s comment implies that numerous teams are aiming for consistent driver rosters during the 2025 to 2026 transition, as Formula 1 introduces comprehensive changes to chassis and power unit regulations, making a stable lineup one fewer variable to consider.

James Vowles, the team principal of Williams, affirmed that Albon remains under contract with the team for 2025. However, when questioned about potentially obstructing Albon’s move if an attractive proposal emerged for the next year, he responded: “Should any decision go that way, it’s because I’m very clear in my mind that I’ve made decisions that are correct for the team’s long-term goals and not the short term.”

When questioned about if his contract for 2025 limits his options to explore opportunities with other teams, Albon responded: “Let’s see. Time will tell. But my focus is on 2024, let’s keep it like that.

“The real focus is on making sure that we make progress for 2025. Yeah, that’s really where I’m at.

“Realistically I want to be with the team. If the team are where I want them to be, it will be a long-term contract. We’re gonna go all the way or nothing.”

Albon made a mid-season switch to Red Bull during his debut year in 2019, stepping up from AlphaTauri to take over Pierre Gasly‘s seat.

Facing challenges as Max Verstappen‘s teammate, he remained with the squad until the conclusion of 2020, after which Perez replaced him.

Since then, Albon has revitalised his career through impressive performances in the 2022 and 2023 seasons with Williams, contributing significantly to the team’s rise to seventh place in the F1 standings last year.

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About The Author

Senior Editor

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

Mark is a staff writer specialising in the history of Formula 1 races. Mark researches most of our historic content from teams to drivers and races. He has followed Formula 1 since 1988, and admits to having a soft spot for British drivers from James Hunt and Nigel Mansell to Lando Norris. He loves a great F1 podcast and has read pretty much every drivers biography.

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