Alex Albon to make F1 driver return for Williams next season after being demoted to test and reserve role at Red Bull
Suffolk-raised Alex Albon will be back in the FIA Formula 1 Drivers' Championship in 2022 after signing for Williams Racing.
It followed bursting on the F1 scene with some impressive finishes for development team Toro Rosso in 2019 which saw him promoted to Red Bull in a switch with Pierre Gasly mid-way through the campaign.
But after a disappointing 2020 season, despite claiming two podiums, he was handed the reserve role, following the team's acquisition of Sergio Pérez to race alongside no1 driver Max Verstappen. It led to him get driving time in the German-based grand touring car series DTM this season.
Albon said: “I am really excited and looking forward to returning to a Formula 1 race seat in 2022.
"When you take a year out of F1 it’s never certain you will make a return so I’m extremely thankful to Red Bull and Williams for believing in me and helping me on my journey back to the grid.
"It’s also been great to see all the progress Williams have been making as a team this year and I look forward to helping them continue that journey in 2022.
"My focus now returns to my test and reserve driver role at Red Bull and helping the team fight for this year’s world championship.”
Albon, who holds dual British and Thai citizenship due to his parents, will join existing driver Nicholas Latifi at Williams next season. He knows the Canadian well, having previously raced alongside him during his 2018 Formula 2 campaign.
Jost Capito, CEO of Williams Racing, said: “It is fantastic to be able to confirm our driver line-up for 2022 and I am delighted to be welcoming Alex to the team, along with confirming our continued relationship with Nicholas into next year.
"We are extremely excited by our new line-up, with both drivers bringing a great blend of youth and experience that will not only be a great fit for the team but also help us take the next step in our journey.
“Alex is one of the most exciting young talents in motorsport, yet comes with a large amount of F1 experience from his time at Red Bull.
"His multiple podium finishes highlight his speed as a driver, and we know he will immediately feel at home with the team at Grove.
"Nicholas meanwhile has consistently impressed us over the past three years with his hard work, diligence, and positive attitude. He has continued to develop throughout his time at Williams and has grown into an impressive F1 driver, as seen by his points scoring finishes this season.
“We are now looking forward to continuing to build on our positive momentum as a team and finishing this season as strongly as possible, before turning our attentions to 2022.”
Williams are currently eighth of 10 teams in the constructors standings after 13 of the scheduled 22 rounds of the 2021 season with Red Bull in second behind Mercedes.