F1

Red Bull axe Ricciardo’s replacement

As Daniel Ricciardo continues to struggle with his Renault it seems life was also sweeter for his former team Red Bull with the Australian there.

It has taken the team just over half the season to dump the man who replaced him, France’s Pierre Gasly.

His replacement will be Toro Rosso star Alexander Albon, with the Thai driver moving up the team pecking order in similar fashion to the way current No.1 and at times Ricciardo nemesis Max Verstappen was over Daniil Kvyat in 2016.

Alexander Albon has been given a promotion to the main Red Bull team.Source:AFP

The 23-year-old’s first drive for Red Bull will be the Belgian Grand Prix on September 1. “Alexander Albon is being promoted to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to drive alongside Max Verstappen, while Pierre Gasly will return to the Red Bull sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso,” read the team statement.

“The Team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.”

The London-born Thai driver has consistently impressed this season, although it is Kvyat, himself a former Red Bull driver, who has scored the majority of Toro Rosso’s points to date.

Gasly’s form and future had become a frequent topic of conversation and speculation through the summer.

Although Christian Horner told reporters after the Hungarian GP “our intention is to leave him in the car until the end of the year”, the Red Bull boss added that “we desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car.”

Gasly’s struggles were particularly acute in Budapest. While Verstappen challenged for victory after taking pole position, Gasly only qualified sixth, 0.8s adrift of Verstappen, and then finished behind McLaren’s Carlos Sainz in the race.

Albon — who was signed up to the Red Bull Junior Team in 2012 — has accrued 16 points in his maiden season in the championship with a best-placed sixth in the German Grand Prix.

Gasly, also 23, is in his second full season in Formula One — he competed in five Grands Prix in the 2017 campaign — and has garnered 63 points thus far this term with fourth in the British Grand Prix his best performance.

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