I doubt anyone is too surprised by Monday’s news that Pierre Gasly is being replaced at Red Bull Racing and will move down to Toro Rosso effective immediately. What my not be quite as obvious to some readers is who the team have elected to swap seats with at Toro Rosso.
According to Red Bull Racing, Alexander Albon has been chose to replace Pierre:
is being promoted to the Team to drive alongside Max, while Pierre will return to the Red Bull sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Red Bull are in the unique position of having four talented Formula One drivers under contract who can be rotated between the Team and Toro Rosso. The Team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.
Everyone at the Team looks forward to welcoming Alex and supporting him during the next phase of his F1 career.
This is a well-crafted narrative in which the entire decision and any possible friction points have been removed as the changes have been couched as a 2020 assessment process and not one of pure disappointment over Gasly’s performance or inability to meet the team’s expectations.
If I’m honest, I do find the choice and interesting one as I would have assumed that Daniil Kvyat would have been the logical decision given his experience and recent podium. There was a time in his past when Daniil struggled but he’s been consistent since returning to Toro Rosso and Albon is a rookie.
Time will tell. If Alex can get on par with the Red Bull car and be there or thereabouts with Max, then the team will have made the right choice but not all is lost for Kvyat because if Alex doesn’t perform, we know the team isn’t bashful about making immediate changes.
Hat Tip: Red Bull Racing
I personally think promoting Albon in lieu of Kvyat was a mistake. I realize the reason was to evaluate Albon’s performance in the car to make a decision on the seat for 2020. However, the results of the Gasly experiment showed what happens when an inexperienced driver is promoted too quickly. Why repeat this by replacing him with a driver with even less experience who, in addition, has not had an off-season with the team to settle into the program? Albon is definitely talented, but don’t they run the risk of jeopardizing his career by moving him up too quickly… Read more »
I’m guessing that they want to see more consistency in Kvyat before they let him back at Red Bull. Once bitten, twice shy.
Good point. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season unfolds with this shake-up.
‘Once bitten, twice shy’ I agree with, but surely that should apply to the experiment of moving drivers up too soon as well.
Even Max had a full season at STR and few races into the following year before being swapped with DK, so if we use him as a benchmark, then only 12 races for Albon is way too soon.
Just hope his and Pierre’s career doesn’t go the way of Stoffel Vandoorne, so much promise destroyed by shortsightedness.