Red Bull says it will look outside of its own pool of drivers for 2021 if it decides not to retain Alexander Albon alongside Max Verstappen.
Red Bull has not fielded a non-academy driver in its team since Mark Webber’s departure at the end of 2013, with Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat, Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Albon all promoted from Toro Rosso.
Albon has endured a difficult first full campaign with Red Bull in 2020 and has yet to out-qualify Verstappen, taking only 64 points to the Dutchman’s 147.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has now ruled out either AlphaTauri driver earning a second shot and says an outsider would be brought in if it opts to dispense with Albon.
“I think AlphaTauri are pretty settled with their drivers, so you know, our preference is very much Alex,” he said.
“But if we had to look at a different solution we would have to look outside of the Red Bull pool of drivers simply because there’s not one available that we would look to put in.
“There’s some quality drivers on the market that could be unemployed for next year.”
Horner hinted that Red Bull has given Albon the next two events in order to prove his worth.
“Well look we want Alex to claim that seat and basically justify that there is no need to look at any other alternative,” he said. “Everyone at the team wants him to do that.
“It felt like at Mugello he was starting to turn the corner and so on, he’s had a couple of difficult weekends, he needs to bounce back here I think and particularly Imola with a strong weekend from start to finish.
“That’s our focus, that’s our objective, he’s a popular member of the team but we need two cars closer together in order to fight the Mercedes and that’s what we’ve got to do, that’s our target.”