Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has hailed Alexander Albon’s “classy” display throughout a difficult 2020 Formula 1 season.
Following a challenging year for the Thai-British driver, Red Bull announced last week that Albon would be replaced by Sergio Perez in 2021.
Albon bagged two podiums during the 2020 campaign, however his lack of pace in comparison to team-mate Max Verstappen saw Red Bull choose to replace the 24-year-old.
Horner insists that Albon showed a high quantity of strength during the year amid the pressures to perform.
“Max’s 2021 team-mate has been a matter for debate and at times something that has yielded intense questioning and external pressure for Alex,” Horner said.
“He handled this extremely well and it impressed me how much strength, resilience and class he has displayed throughout.
“All of us wanted to see Alex retain the seat for 2021. We therefore made the decision to evaluate the performances at the end of the season with a full set of data.
“Looking at the delta between our two drivers and given Sergio’s strong performances, particularly in the second half of the year, we made the decision that Sergio had earned the 2021 seat.”
Albon will remain with Red Bull next year as a test and reserve driver, with Horner adding that he remains a “highly regarded” individual within the team.
“Alex remains an important part of the team and will focus on 2022 development and of course making himself a contender for a future race seat,” Horner said.
“He is also one of the most humble drivers we have ever worked with and a highly regarded member of the team.
“We have decided to go outside of the programme for the first time since 2007 but we need to field the strongest team possible in order to take the fight to Mercedes. Sergio’s experience will be crucial next season and we look forward to welcoming him to the team.”