Alexander Albon has said it is ‘surreal’ that he has earned a promotion to the Red Bull Racing team, just twelve races into his Formula 1 career.
The Thai driver has been called up to partner Max Verstappen in the Red Bull line-up with Pierre Gasly going the other way back to Scuderia Toro Rosso, a result of a less than satisfying start to the year for the Frenchman who has not bettered fourth in either Qualifying or any race in 2019 so far.
Albon will get his first opportunity to drive the RB15 at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit at the end of this month when free practice gets underway on 30 August ahead of his first race with his new team, the Belgian Grand Prix on 1 September, an opportunity he cannot wait for.
“Surreal to have been given this massive opportunity @redbullracing!” Albon said on his official Twitter account. “Can’t thank you enough for believing in me and making this possible.
“It’s a big jump into the deep end, but I’ve got my swimming shorts on!”
Albon took time to thank Toro Rosso and team principal Franz Tost for the chance to race in Formula 1 in 2019, having been offered the final seat on the grid after initially opting to race in FIA Formula E.
“Thanks to all the guys at @ToroRosso, especially [team principal] Franz Tost for the massive opportunity in F1 and never-ending support throughout my first year!” said Albon.
“Now to focus for my first race with the team in Spa.”
It is a massive turnaround in Albon’s career with the Thai driver having had to beg DAMS for a ride in FIA Formula 2 in 2018, and his performances throughout the season against the likes of George Russell and Lando Norris opened up opportunities in his career.
He finished third in the final standings behind the Mercedes-Benz and McLaren F1 Team juniors, with his race-craft and results seeing him offered a ride in Formula E before Formula 1 came calling. Now he’s in a front-running team with an opportunity to prove himself amongst the elite.