The 22-year-old British-born Thai driver will make his F1 debut with Toro Rosso in 2019
Well, that didn’t take long! Just a few hours after it was announced that Albon was splitting from his Formula E team, Toro Rosso confirmed that he’ll become an F1 driver in 2019 as Daniil Kvyat’s teammate.
It’s an amazing story for a driver who faced the prospect of not racing at all this season, turning a race-by-race deal with the DAMS squad in Formula 2 into a championship-challenging campaign strong enough to attract the eye of an F1 team.
A jubilant Albon said of the news:
“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year. 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 added:
“Alexander had an impressive Formula 2 season in 2018. 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. Scuderia Toro Rosso is very much looking forward to 2019, as with Daniil and Alex we have two young, very strong and competitive drivers.”
It means that the top three drivers from this year’s F2 championship - George Russell, Lando Norris and Albon - have all progressed through to F1, proving not only how effective it is as a feeder series, but how talented the grid was this season.
Seeing how Albon gets on - especially against the enigma that is Kvyat - will be incredibly interesting. It also means there’s just one spot on the 2019 grid left to fill, but we all know who’s getting that…