Alexander Albon has been confirmed as Daniil Kvyat‘s team-mate for 2019 at Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda after leaving the Nissan e.dams ABB FIA Formula E team.
Initially heading to Formula E for the 2018-2019 season with Nissan e.dams, it has now been announced that he will instead make the move to Formula 1. FIA Formula 2 series star Albon has been confirmed to take the second seat at Toro Rosso in 2019.
Earlier today news emerged that the 22-year-old Thai/British driver had parted ways with Nissan, just three weeks before the season opener in Saudi Arabia. It was known that Albon was trying to find his way out of the contact with the Japanese team, and was said to have backing by Red Bull so that he could race for junior team Toro Rosso.
Rumours of Albon coming to Formula 1 started a few months ago, after Daniel Riccardo chose to leave Aston Martin Red Bull Racing for the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team. Following Pierre Gasly’s promotion to the senior side, the result of a terrific first full season in F1, Red Bull made the decision to recall former outcast Kvyat to their line-up after a year as Scuderia Ferrari‘s development driver. As no current Red Bull-affiliated junior drivers hold the requisite Super Licence points, Albon will make his debut with the Italian-based team in ’19.
Speaking in the wake of the announcement, Albon expressed his delight in joining Formula 1.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year,” he said.
Throughout my single seater career, I went through a few ups and downs. I was dropped by Red Bull in 2012, so from then I knew my road to Formula 1 was going to be a lot harder.
“I worked really hard and tried to impress every time I got in the car, and I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr Marko for believing in me and giving me a second chance. I’ve always been motorsport mad and since I first got in a car it’s been my dream to be in Formula 1.
“To be given this opportunity is just incredible.”
Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost was also happy to welcome Albon to the team, lauding Albon’s 2018 Formula 2 campaign – a season that saw him finish in third behind fellow F1 graduates Lando Norris and George Russell.
“Alexander had an impressive Formula 2 season in 2018,” Tost said.
“He won four races and finished the Championship third. The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in Formula 1.
“Toro Rosso is very much looking forward to 2019, as with Daniil and Alex we have two young, very strong and competitive drivers.”