Red Bull is open to the idea of lending the recently dropped Alex Albon to rival Formula 1 teams next season.
With three drivers across the 2020 season forced to miss grands prix due to the global pandemic, there is a high chance next year will see further absences on the grid.
Albon was dropped from Red Bull’s 2021 line-up in favour of the in-form Sergio Perez. But he will stay on with the outfit as their test and reserve driver for the upcoming season.
While effectively demoted to the team’s sub bench for next year, Red Bull’s Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko says the team are not opposed to the option of loaning the Thai driver to another team should that opportunity arise.
“We assured him that we will use him massively in testing,” Marko told Autosport. “After all, there are the 2022 tyres to test, and there are separate tests for that
“He will do a lot of simulator driving and he will also be at many races as a reserve driver. That involves four cars for us.
“The chances of him being used are there. In addition, we are prepared to lend him out if a situation arises at another team that they need a driver at short notice. Then he will get race kilometres. So it’s not the end.”
Marko also added on to the reasons why the team decided not to retain Albon for 2021. He said the primary reason was the inconsistent nature of his season.
He also stressed that part of the reason Albon struggled for most of the season was that he was made to go face-to-face with Max Verstappen each weekend.
“[It was] a lack of consistency and he got rattled too easily when, for example, the wind gained intensity or came from a different direction,” said Marko. “Or when the tyres started to degrade, then he lost time disproportionately.
“It’s certainly a mental story as well. But when you have a teammate who is permanently driving at the absolute top level, no matter what the car is like, it plays a minor role, I think.
“Of course, getting to the mental thing, all the reports and the unsatisfactory results have unsettled him. His gap to Verstappen actually increased over the course of the season, not decreased. It was marginal, but it increased.”