Alexander Albon’s whirlwind 18 months in which he’s both a begged for a seat and turned his back on a manufacturer drive, has culminated in a promotion to one of Formula 1’s elite teams just 12 races into his F1 career.
Peter Fox (Getty)
Albon will replace the struggling Pierre Gasly at Red Bull from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards. Gasly, who has failed to score a podium in his 12 races since being promoted to Red Bull, will return to Toro Rosso in a straight seat swap.
The circumstances by which Albon has found himself in this position are remarkable. Hollywood take note, depending on how the next few months and years go, you could have a blockbuster retelling on your hands.
From the moment that Fernando Alonso and McLaren failed to qualify for the 2019 Indianapolis 500, a full-time McLaren IndyCar entry was somewhat of a guarantee.
When Kyle Kaiser of the under-funded Juncos Racing squad dumped Alonso out of the qualifying 33 on bump day, McLaren had all the evidence it needed that simply rocking up to the Brickyard once a year aspiring to beat IndyCar stalwarts in one of the most competitive arenas on the planet was a pipe-dream.
Commitment was required and has been duly delivered. McLaren has merged with Schmidt Peterson Motorsport to become the Arrow McLaren Racing SP entry for 2020 – a two car entry formed of SPM’s current seats.
The NASCAR Cup Series is one of the most spectacular forms of racing on Planet Earth – the only problem is that it’s also one of the most inaccessible to people outside of America.
This isn’t a notion based on the difficulty of becoming a NASCAR driver, nor the ability for fans to engage with drivers and teams – the usual factors by which accessibility is determined. Instead, NASCAR’s inaccessibility in Europe lies simply in how different it is from everything else.
The last time Formula 1 introduced a major sporting regulation change in the two weeks leading up to the first race of the season, it didn’t go too well.
In 2016, F1 delivered a new qualifying package with an elimination format. Forecast to fail by engineers, the concept was quickly dropped after just two races and the old system was swiftly reinstated.
This developing story is hardly of the same scale as changing the qualifying format, but it is the prospect of a rather surprising change to the rules that is once again being added in winter’s 11th hour.
Four years on from the last time London played host to a Formula E race, the UK capital will return to the calendar to host the 2019/20 season finale in a radical fashion.
FE has not been a series to follow convention, but it will be one of the first major categories to hold a race in a convention centre, with the new-look London E-Prix to be held on a partially-indoor circuit which will weave around the Royal Victoria Dock and through the ExCeL London building.
Sebastian Vettel may have topped the timesheet on the final day of Formula 1 pre-season testing, but Mercedes claimed the day four headlines.
After two weeks of disciplined data gathering, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas unlocked performance from the W10, ending up second and third on the timesheet – Hamilton just 0.003s adrift of Vettel’s benchmark.
Here is a round-up of all the main storylines from the final day of pre-season testing.