Christian Horner opened up on Sebastian Vettel and Alexander Albon during F1 Belgian GP as Franz Tost added on Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda.
The F1 seats at Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri is pretty hot topic ever since the 2020 season begun. While Max Verstappen seems the only one secured, the likes of Albon, Gasly and Daniil Kvyat are still in a limbo regarding their drives in 2021.
As things stands, Albon seems likely to be retained at Red Bull despite some of the hard times as per Horner, while Gasly feels secured at AlphaTauri – especially because of his results of F1 2020. The only possible change could be at the expense of Kvyat.
While the Russian has done a good job so far but over in F2, Red Bull and Honda junior Tsunoda has excelled as well with Carlin, where already in his rookie season, he has a win, podiums and pole positions, while he is also in the mix for the title.
Tost effectively confirmed that Tsunoda will be testing for AlphaTauri in the post-season F1 test at Yas Marina circuit, which is still a good four months down the line. The only hiccup for the Japanese could be superlicense but a Top 3 finish in F2 should help him well.
The AlphaTauri chief was all praise for Tsunoda and also Gasly, who completed a year returning to the Faenza-based F1 outfit. Here’s what Tost stated about the two in full:
On Tsunoda –
Tost: “I’m not only impressed with his driving in Formula 2, I was impressed with him last year in Formula 3 as well and the years before. He is a high-skilled driver and he has all the ingredients together to become a successful Formula 1 driver. For sure, he will test for us in Abu Dhabi at the young driver test.
“Whether he will drive for us next year or not, this is being decided by Red Bull and it depends also whether he gets a Superlicence. If he continues like now then he will be within the first three or four drivers in the Formula 2 championship and it shouldn’t be a problem to receive the Superlicence and the rest then we will see.”
On Gasly –
Tost: “I must say it’s exactly one year ago when Pierre came back to us. I remember when he came the first time to the factory, I said to him, hey, it looks like you were here yesterday, because we were so familiar together and he knew his engineer quite well, his mechanics, he felt familiar from the very beginning onwards.
“And fortunately our car last year was also quite competitive and therefore he immediately got some results, some good results and of course the highlight was the second place in Sao Paulo and he made really good progress during the last year, but also this year you can see that he gets more and more self-confident and I am also convinced that he will show very good races the rest of the season.”
Aside the comments from Tost, Horner spoke about Albon at length and answered why the push for him at Red Bull is more than what it was with Gasly. Meanwhile, on Vettel, the Brit discussed about the German’s struggle, not necessarily is down to the new generation.
On Vettel –
Horner: “Sebastian drove with refuelling, no refuelling, blown diffusers, no diffusers, F-Ducts, no F-Ducts, DRS, no DRS so, he drove a whole variance of different cars over the years and obviously what he achieved in the period during those years with Red Bull was quite special. I think he’s the third most successful driver in the history of the sport and he’s achieved some incredible things – many records which will stand for some time. For whatever reason, things aren’t working for him at the moment.
“I think any driver has to be happy in their environment and you can see that he’s carrying quite a lot of weight on his shoulders and that has a bearing on any sportsman, on any athlete. I don’t think we’re seeing the real Sebastian Vettel at the moment. He’s obviously having a difficult time with the product that he has at the moment – but yeah, you can’t take away anything that he’s achieved, obviously, in his career to date.”
On Albon –
Horner: “Everybody’s obviously got an opinion on this topic but they don’t have really the facts. So I think that Alex is doing a good job in what’s been a difficult car this year. It’s a different car to last year, I’d say the car’s harder to drive than 12 months ago. When he got in the car 12 months ago he did a much stronger job than Pierre had done up to that point in the year. I think Alex has got a lot of talent that obviously we haven’t seen come to the surface yet. His racing has been very strong on a Sunday but he’s struggled with the car over a single lap. And, of course, Max has been so strong at getting the most out of the car.
“You think back to some of the great drivers, whether it’s a Schumacher or a Senna, and being a driver alongside those guys was very tough. I think that’s a similar situation that the seat alongside Max has at the moment. Alex is only going to get better: he’s still pretty young and inexperienced. This is only his second season of F1 racing and we’re doing all that we can to support him and develop him.
“And as we’ve seen, this is a driver that nearly won the first race of the year. Strategically we were sharp. He obviously got turned-around by Lewis that race. He was fighting for the podium and should have been on the podium in Brazil at the end of last year. I think he’ll have more Sundays like that in the coming races where he’s competing and fighting for podium finishes on merit. So, the team has confidence in him and belief in him and we’re happy with our choice.”
Here’s how Friday of F1 Belgian GP went for Red Bull, AlphaTauri