Opening the door to his mooted Toro Rosso F1 move
UPDATE: Alexander Albon has officially left Formula E squad Nissan E.Dams, just weeks before the all-electric series begins season five, to join Toro Rosso on the 2019 Formula 1 grid.
The London-born Thai racer finished third in the 2018 Formula 2 standings following a tough final weekend at Abu Dhabi. He crashed in the first race at Abu Dhabi, eventually finishing 14th, which handed Williams-bound George Russell the title.
In signing for Toro Rosso, the 22-year-old returns to the Red Bull ranks after being dropped in 2012 while racing in Formula Renault. He will partner Daniil Kvyat, another Red Bull returnee, and replaces Brendon Hartley – another driver dropped by Red Bull during his junior career.
He also will be the first Thai driver in F1 since Prince Bira.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year,” Albon said. “Throughout my single-seater career, I went through a few ups and downs. I was dropped by Red Bull in 2012, so from then I knew my road to F1 was going to be a lot harder. I worked really hard and tried to impress every time I got in the car, and I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr Marko for believing in me and giving me a second chance.
“I’ve always been motor sport mad and since I first got in a car it’s been my dream to be in F1. To be given this opportunity is just incredible.”
Franz Tost, Toro Rosso Honda team principal, added: “The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in F1. Scuderia Toro Rosso is very much looking forward to 2019, as with Daniil and Alex we have two young, very strong and competitive drivers.”
His replacement at Nissan will be announced on Friday at the team’s launch event in Tokyo. Oliver Rowland replaced Albon at the Formula E pre-season test, when the latter was subject to heavy speculation over his move.
The Formula E season gets underway in Saudi Arabia on December 15.
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