Alexander Albon would be performing as strongly as Pierre Gasly is at AlphaTauri if their roles had been reversed in 2020, according to Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Italian Grand Prix victor Gasly has scored 63 points in 12 races, matching the tally he achieved for Red Bull in 2019 before his sacking, and is just one point adrift of Red Bull’s Albon in the standings.
Red Bull is set to make a decision on its 2021 line-up by mid-November and is poised to look to an outsider, most likely Sergio Perez, if it opts to dispense with Albon.
It is understood that Albon has one more opportunity, at this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, to prove his 2021 credentials to Red Bull.
But Horner believes that the issues are down to the car, and the difficulty of the rear-limited RB16, rather than the drivers.
“I think the [Red Bull] car is a more difficult car to drive than the AlphaTauri, we know that and it’s very, very clear,” he said.
“The car is much more rear-sensitive and I think that can be unnerving for drivers. Max [Verstappen] copes with that incredibly well, other drivers have struggled more with that. I think that’s just the facts of it.
“I think if Alex was in an AlphaTauri he’d probably be doing a very similar job to what we saw with Pierre, I have no doubts of that.
“It’s just the characteristics of our car, they’re struggling to commit on corner entry.
“You see it a little bit with the Ferrari with [Charles] Leclerc and [Sebastian] Vettel at the moment, you see it in the race with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Valtteri] Bottas. That’s just the way it is sometimes.”
Horner also suggested that Gasly was coping better due to the lower expectations at AlphaTauri.
“We have a lot of information on the drivers over a big period of time,” Horner said.
“Pierre’s done a super job [in Portugal] and he’s driving very well in that environment with AlphaTauri, he’s comfortable in that car with perhaps the less pressure that goes with that environment as well, and less expectation.
“I think their aspirations as a team are different to as it was as Toro Rosso so it makes sense that the fit works well in both directions with Pierre and the AlphaTauri team.”