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