Alex Albon F1 return announcement 'expected within days'


Williams and Alfa Romeo are interested in signing Alex Albon, who is said to be "the main protagonist" at this stage of the F1 driver market

Alex Albon in 2021

Albon has been winning for AlphaTauri in DTM this year

Red Bull

Alex Albon’s return to the Formula 1 grid could be confirmed within days; both Williams and Alfa Romeo are interested in signing him, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

The Red Bull reserve driver’s future looks to be tied to the anticipated reshuffle in Mercedes’ 2022 line-up, with George Russell hotly tipped for a move to the reigning champions, which would leave a vacancy at Williams.

News of of Kimi Räikkönen’s retirement also leaves openings at Alfa Romeo where no drivers are confirmed for next year, although Valtteri Bottas has been linked to the team.

Albon is said to be “the main protagonist” at this stage of the driver market, with his decision likely to affect the F1 chances of Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries.

The high-stakes have prompted an accusation of foul play, with Horner accusing Mercedes of trying to block Albon from joining Williams — a claim that Mercedes denies.

“Alex deserves a seat in Formula 1 next year,” said Horner, who dismissed the possibility of a return to Red Bull or a seat in the sister AlphaTauri team.

“We’re looking at external teams. Williams and Alfa have both expressed interest and we’re keen to see him back racing in Formula 1. Hopefully that can get resolved over the next few days.

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“I think that there’s quite a bit of interest in him for next year.

Horner was asked whether Red Bull would be prepared to fund a drive for Albon next year or release him from his Red Bull contract if required.

“He’s good enough that he doesn’t need to be taking a funding package with him,” replied Horner. “We’re looking to enable that. Where we can help, we certainly will.

“We want to see him race so we’ll accommodate whatever we can to ensure he’s back in a race seat next year. Discussions are ongoing at the moment.

“I hope that nothing prevents him from realising one of those opportunities.”

Horner was speaking at a press conference ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, and elaborated further in an interview with Sky Sports, where he accused Mercedes of trying to sabotage a potential move to Williams, which has a technical partnership with the Silver Arrows.

“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.”

Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff said that he would “never block someone like Alex Albon”.

The potential return of Albon, who was lost his race seat at Red Bull in favour of Sergio Perez last year, is having a big influence on the F1 driver market for next year, said Wolff, who is looking at opportunities for the newly-crowned Mercedes Formula E world champion, Nyck de Vries.

Nyck de Vries holds up the 2021 Berlin E-Prix Formula E trophy

Nyck de Vries is in discussions about an F1 seat in 2022


The Mercedes boss said that de Vries’s chances “revolve around Alex Albon”, who he said deserves a seat. “He’s probably the main protagonist in the moving chairs.

“Nyck is a Mercedes driver in Formula E. He’s an extremely important member of that team. I admired his decision after winning the F2 title to say, ‘I want to be part of a works team and that’s why I’m driving a Mercedes in Formula E rather than for another team in Formula 1.

“Now the time has come that people recognise his talent and his ability and therefore there’s these talks, taking place.

“For us, most importantly, is that he stays within the family, I don’t want to lose him at that stage for another Formula E Championship, but I wouldn’t block him for Formula 1.”