Red Bull’s motorsport advisor, Helmut Marko, has shed some light on the turbulent stint Alex Albon had with Red Bull, attributing part of the struggle to encounters with Formula 1’s seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton.
Albon’s 2020 season with Red Bull was marked by several challenging episodes, eventually leading to his exit from the team. According to Marko, two particular run-ins with Hamilton on the race track significantly affected Albon’s confidence, contributing to his downward trajectory.
Albon first joined the Red Bull family in 2019, taking over from Pierre Gasly and making quite an impression. However, his promising start was disrupted by two incidents – one at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix and another at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix – both involving Hamilton.
Opening up about Albon’s situation on the Inside Line podcast, Marko said, “Alex, I have to say, was really unlucky. In Brazil, he was fighting for second position when Hamilton turned him around. Fine, it didn’t help Alex. But he lost his podium. And the next, which was more severe, was in Austria, when Alex was fighting for the win when, again, it was turned around by Hamilton. That hit his confidence massively… massively. Second, or even the win, was on the table. Someone took the glory away. That made it difficult from this moment, his self-confidence was down and we needed someone we knew to fight for the championship, we needed two solid drivers.”
It was these developments that led to Albon being replaced by Sergio Perez in 2021, a decision Marko was integral to. Despite this, Albon remained valuable to Red Bull as a reserve driver, supporting Verstappen’s championship journey with his work in simulator development.
Acknowledging Albon’s commitment and contribution, Red Bull offered him their support in the driver market, a move that paved the way for his current stint with Williams.