Red Bull Formula 1 reserve driver Alex Albon says he would accept a return to the company’s secondary team AlphaTauri in 2022.
Albon raced for the squad in its Toro Rosso guise in the first half of his rookie year in 2019, impressing Red Bull sufficiently to earn a mid-season call up to the main squad when it decided to demote the struggling Pierre Gasly.
However, much like Gasly, Albon proved no match for Max Verstappen during their year and a half as team-mates, leading to him being dropped for Sergio Perez for 2021.
Albon will race a Ferrari GT3 car with Red Bull backing and an AlphaTauri livery in the DTM this year while performing reserve F1 duties.
Red Bull has made it clear it still sees Albon as part of its F1 plans, and the Anglo-Thai racer, still only 24, is hopeful he can still return to grand prix racing.
“Firstly, the goal has to be [to return] with Red Bull, there’s not just two, there’s four seats there,” Albon said in his first interview with the written press since his late-2020 demotion.
“And my goal is really to wait and assess how it’s going.
“Obviously if everyone’s performing then you’d be able to know what the situation is.
“My duty is to focus on what’s going on right now, focus on getting the best for the team, doing what I can, improve myself within the factory. Once we can do that then we’ll see what happens.”
When Albon’s Red Bull seat was under threat during late 2020 and it was suggested to him that he might – like Gasly had – fare better back at the junior team, Albon had replied: “not at all – I think it’s every driver’s dream to race for a top team like Red Bull, and my intention is to stay here”.
However, asked now by The Race whether he’d accept an AlphaTauri seat for 2022, Albon said: “Yeah. As I said my main goal is to be in a Formula 1 car so, I would, yeah.”
Albon added that he hasn’t been given any specific targets to meet in order to win back an F1 seat, and he said he would be focusing on giving 100% to “being reserve driver and helping them with this year’s car, helping them with next year’s car”.
Whether Albon would keep his Red Bull seat was a protracted affair over the second half of the 2020 campaign, and the team didn’t reveal its decision to sign Perez until after the season had finished.
Asked about his reaction to the news of his demotion, Albon said: “Of course it’s disappointing, it’s always going to be disappointing.
“This is our dream.
“Very quickly it was one of those things where there’s no point feeling sorry for yourself.
“You’ve got to get back into it and do as much as you can to get back so my goal of course is to be back in a seat next year, and just be ready for this year as well.
“You never know what’s going to happen in terms of fitness or with COVID around.
“This winter has been kind of making sure that I’m as ready as I can be, being as fit as I can, doing all the simulator stuff.
“Hopefully I’ll get a few days where I can drive, do some tyre tests and things like that.”