Tuesday, Aug 13 08:25am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Albon and Gasly switch seats in Red Bull Racing shakeup

British-born Thai driver Alexander Albon has been given the biggest boost of his Formula 1 career to date.


Albon has been promoted to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing in an effective seat swap that will see Frenchman Pierre Gasly demoted back to Scuderia Toro Rosso.


Gasly joined Red Bull Racing earlier this year when Daniel Ricciardo made the shock switch to the Renault F1 Team.


The 23-year-old will join fellow young gun Max Verstappen at the team for the remainder of the year as the team establishes who will join the Dutch driver in 2020.


Despite Red Bull Racing making assurances earlier this season that no changes would be made, it seems Gasly’s recent performances have forced the team’s hand.


While Verstappen is sitting pretty in third overall with two wins to his name this season at Austria and Germany, Gasly is only sixth and still searching for a maiden podium. On points Verstappen outranks Gasly 181 to 63.


It’s a stunning step up for Albon who was a Red Bull Junior Driver at a young age, but was unceremoniously dropped by the program only to be reenlisted earlier this year.


Albon had success in junior single seater competition finishing runner-up to Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the 2016 season of the GP3 Series (now FIA Formula 3).


In 2017 he joined the FIA Formula 2 Championship with ART Grand Prix and finished 10th in his first season. The following year he made big strides forward finishing third behind George Russell (Williams) and Lando Norris (McLaren), who both made the move to Formula 1 as well.


Albon was given a surprise call up for the 2019 season and replaced two-time FIA World Endurance Championship title winner Brendon Hartley in the line-up alongside Daniil Kvyat of Russia.


Albon gets to pass go ahead of Kvyat despite only having five finishes inside the top 10 versus six and a podium for the Russian.