“When you take a year out of F1 it’s never certain you will make a return so I’m extremely thankful to Red Bull and Williams for believing in me and helping me on my journey back to the grid. It’s also been great to see all the progress Williams have been making as a team this year and I look forward to helping them continue that journey in 2022. My focus now returns to my test & reserve driver role at Red Bull and helping the team fight for this year’s world championship.”
Albon has also won at Formula 2 and GP3 level, further persuading Williams team boss Jost Capito he was worth a shot at racing redemption.
“I am delighted to be welcoming Alex to the team, along with confirming our continued relationship with Nicholas into next year,” he said. “Alex is one of the most exciting young talents in motor sport, yet comes with a large amount of F1 experience from his time at Red Bull. His multiple podium finishes highlight his speed as a driver, and we know he will immediately feel at home with the team at Grove.”
Albon was described as “pivotal” to the F1 driver market by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff last week, not least because a seat at Williams was seen as ideal for Nyck de Vries, the former F2 and current Formula E champion, who is contracted to Mercedes and has eyes on F1.
Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, accused Mercedes of trying to dissuade Albon from signing for Williams because he is a Red Bull driver.
“I really hope Mercedes don’t block his opportunity at Williams because of his linkage to Red Bull,” said Horner. “That would be a great shame if a driver has to pay the penalty for that.
“He’s had about four phone calls telling him not to go there from the team next door. I told him to ignore them.”
Albon appeared in Williams publicity shots wearing a t-shirt from Red Bull’s fashion brand, AlphaTauri. It is understood that he will be released from his Red Bull contract next year but retain links with the team, as reported by F1.com.