Alexander Albon almost quit racing after post-2012 Red Bull axing

Newly-signed Toro Rosso F1 driver Alexander Albon has revealed that he almost quit racing altogether when he was dropped by Red Bull’s programme.

The Anglo-Thai was part of the Red Bull junior scheme in his nascent single-seater days but was axed from the system after 2012.

Albon ultimately continued to compete in Formula Renault 2.0 before his career was kick-started by finishing runner-up to Charles Leclerc in GP3 two years ago.

Albon emerged as a title contender in Formula 2 this year, having struggled to put together a financial package early on, and ultimately placed third, behind George Russell and Lando Norris.

On Monday it was confirmed that he will join his Formula 2 opponents on the Formula 1 grid next season after signing a deal to race for Toro Rosso.

It completes a remarkable turnaround for the 22-year-old.

“[It was] very tough [in 2012], it was a difficult year for me for numerous reasons, not least because of my results, but it made me work that much harder,” he said in an interview with Red Bull.

“I was on the brink of stopping racing all together. Since then, I knew I had to impress every time I drove and fortunately Dr. [Helmut] Marko gave me a second chance.

“I never gave up on it, I needed to believe that it could still happen.

“Having said that, I knew that my chance of going to F1 was very slim as I didn't have a proper budget.

“In reality, the only way I was going to have the opportunity was through Toro Rosso/Red Bull, but as we all know, it is not easy to impress Dr. Marko!”

On receiving confirmation of his 2019 plans, Albon said: “I was beyond excited as I have waited for this moment since I was six years old.

“I can’t say that it came out of the blue, because I have been trying to resolve my situation with Nissan e.dams to allow me to join Toro Rosso for the past few months.

“I still couldn’t believe that it finally happened!”

Nissan confirmed on Friday that Oliver Rowland will take up the Formula E seat vacated by Albon.