FIA Formula 2 driver Alexander Albon believes that he can fight for a seat next year in Formula 1 with Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda, but admits he’ll have to impress Helmut Marko more.
Albon currently races with DAMS and lies third overall in the championship, behind championship leader George Russell and Lando Norris. Albon is the highest placed driver in F2 who isn’t backed by an F1 junior programme.
Red Bull use to back the Anglo-Thai driver before 2012, when he was cut by the organisation and then by Gravity Management, who associate with Lotus the following year.
But Red Bull and Toro Rosso are seeking for a driver to join the team next year with Pierre Gasly joining Aston Martin Red Bull Racing with Max Verstappen and Brendon Hartley, whose future remains uncertain.
Marko hasn’t had a reputation on signing former drivers back onto the Red Bull program, but their options are short and Albon will accumulate enough superlicence points if he finishes in the top five of F2 this year.
Albon told Motorsport.com that he needs to do better to get the seat at Toro Rosso next year and admits that Helmut Marko isn’t his biggest fan.
“I need to do better if I want to have a seat with Toro Rosso next year,” said Albon.
“I think it’s the only place I have to drive with a team in F1. Dr Marko isn’t my biggest fan and I need to impress him more to have a chance.
“I think the only chance I have to get to F1 is to have some good results and finish strong. I have to concentrate on F2, finish well and after that we’ll see.”
Albon isn’t backed by big sponsors and is one of nine drivers to have no current associations with an F1 team.
The seat at the Italian team has created some attention with the likes of McLaren F1 Team drivers Lando Norris and Stoffel Vandoorne being linked with a seat at Toro Rosso. Dan Ticktum is favoured to be Red Bull’s next star but lacks the superlicence points to make the transition from FIA European Formula 3 to F1, unless the change within the system is made.
Albon says that he’s struggling F2 with a low budget. He orginally signed with DAMS on a race-by-race contract before agreeing to a full-year deal after his win in Azerbaijan.
“I don’t have the budget, I’m struggling in F2,” he said. “There’s only really three teams that you can be a junior driver for and not bring budget.
“It makes the F1 grid even smaller when you look at it like that. My goal is to focus on what I’m doing and hopefully the opportunity will come.”