Red Bull boss Christian Horner has insisted the team will not replace its another driver in the middle of the season, despite Alexander Albon’s poor showing since swapping over with Pierre Gasly last year.
Gasly made the step up Toro Rosso – now AlphaTauri – to replace Daniel Ricciardo at the start of last season but was replaced by British-Thai driver Alexander Albon midway through the campaign, with the Frenchman returning to Red Bull’s junior team.
However, while Gasly has been impressive in his bounce back, securing a shock maiden first grand prix victory, Albon has struggled and claimed just the one podium since.
He is currently down in eighth in the driver standings, nearly 100 points behind teammate Max Verstappen with Ricciardo, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and Lando Norris all ahead of him despite being in slower cars.
Watch the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship™ on KAYO. Every practice, qualifying session and race LIVE. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
That has raised the question as to whether Red Bull will opt to keep faith in Albon or opt for a more experienced teammate for Verstappen, with the likes of Nico Hulkenberg and Perez both available.
He finished 12th in Portugal at the weekend and he is running out of time to change the mind of his superiors.
“The reality is there’s not so many races left in the season,” Horner said. “And it’s getting to that time of year where we need to start thinking about next year obviously, so I think within the next few weeks, we’re going to have to make a decision.
“I think that you’ve got to look at all of the options, and I don’t think we’d be doing our job if we didn’t look at the situation within F1, in that there are obviously drivers that have got significant experience and ability, and that is a very unusual situation, that could be available.”
Get all the latest F1 news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!!
With Hulkenberg a free agent, Red Bull could, if he was the choice for next season, decide to put him in the seat now and give him more time to settle into his new surroundings.
However, that is not something Horner is willing to discuss and despite Albon’s future in the sport far from certain for next year, Red Bull is committed to him at least seeing out the season.
“Well, we’re committed to Alex for this year,” he added. “And as I say, everybody in the team wants him to lay claim to the seat next year. He’s a great guy. We believe he does have talent.
“He’s still only in his second year of F1. And it’s tough, it’s very tough. It’s mentally tough. It’s tough going up against Max.
“And he showed he can bounce back previously, and I really hope for him that he can bounce back from a difficult weekend here in Imola next weekend.”