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.
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.
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.
McLaren rookie Lando Norris was fastest on the first day of the second Formula 1 pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona, despite finding reliability issues.
Equipped with the C5 tyres – the softest compound in Pirelli’s range – Norris posted a 1m17.709s time to edge Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly off of top spot.
Soon after vaulting to the top of the times, Norris stopped on track for the second time in the day. The first was caused by a hydraulic problem on the MCL34 before lunch.
Both Ferrari and Mercedes’ mileage was hampered, as the Scuderia completed cooling checks in the morning, while Valtteri Bottas stopped on track with an oil pressure problem after just one lap at the start of the afternoon session.
Here is a full round up of how all 10 teams fared on the first day of the second test.