Christian Horner says they are in nor hurry to finalise the F1 2021 line-up as all of the drivers are under multi-year contracts.
Apart from Max Verstappen, the remaining three seats at Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri combined, is yet to be officially confirmed for the 2021 F1 season. And looking at how things are, Horner is in no hurry as well to make it official, just yet.
The idea is to retain Alexander Albon at Red Bull, while Pierre Gasly is most likely to remain at AlphaTauri as their lead driver. There is a question mark, though, on Daniil Kvyat with regular link-up with Yuki Tsunoda, while the threat of Juri Vips also remains.
While speaking about the future, Horner noted that all drivers are on multi-year contracts and the team reserve the rights to use the option on them – that is, whether they remain in their respective seats and or are switched or dropped out totally.
“It will certainly be before Christmas,” said Horner on finalisation. “Obviously all the drivers are under contract to Red Bull on multiple years, so there are trigger points at different times in their contacts but it will certainly be later into the autumn.
“Our intention is to retain Alex, he’s doing a good job, he just needs to build on the kind of performances he put in in Mugello and obviously continue that development. As I said, all the drivers are on multi-year contracts and it’s up to the team to take up its option on those drivers.
“As far as Pierre is concerned, he’s doing a great job at AlphaTauri, he’s a good fit for them, they enjoy having him within the team and their aspirations of a team, as I say, have changed so they need an experienced, competitive driver.
“Our intention is absolutely to retain our current drivers. Alex is our preferred choice. Inevitably, you have to be aware of what the other options are out there but our absolute preference and likelihood is to retain the existing driver line-up that we currently have,” summed up Horner.
The Red Bull F1 chief stressed on the fact that AlphaTauri can now be counted a sister team rather than junior, especially because it has the company’s clothing brand behind it. While it looks like Albon and Gasly are safe wherever they are, Kvyat situation remains open.
As mentioned above, he is under threat from Tsunoda, but it will now to see if the end of Honda deal will play any role in him getting the F1 seat or not. The Japanese racer can still feature on merit as he also has Red Bull junior status outside the manufacturer.
It is an interesting situation for Red Bull, though, where they have limited number to choose from, which is very different from Ferrari, who have talents ready in abundance. In a way, Albon hasn’t done awfully bad but against Verstappen, it looks like that always.
In the 19 races he has entered, he has not scored in only three, where two of them was the incident against Lewis Hamilton – where he could have had at least a podium finish. Going deeper, from the 16 races, he has finished 13 of them in the Top 6.
This includes last year rounds where he had starts from outside the Top 10 due to penalties. However, if we match him against Verstappen, like Gasly, he has had a difficult time certainly – the saving grace has been his fighting spirit on Sundays.
Meanwhile, speaking of Verstappen, it will now be interesting to see how his future shapes up beyond the 2021 F1 season. Horner is absolutely certain that he will remain with Red Bull next year but with no Honda from 2022, it will be key for them to keep him within.
“Obviously the contact between the driver and the team is always going to be confidential, there will always be speculation regarding it but I’m a hundred percent certain Max Verstappen will be in a Red Bull racing car next year,” said Horner.
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