Dark days ahead: Why Alex Albon is on the cusp of being ousted from Formula 1

Alex Albon (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)
Alex Albon (Mark Thompson / Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

• Alex Albon is underperfoming in 2020.

• The Red Bull driver is at serious risk of losing his seat in 2021.

• Albon could find himself without an F1 drive next year.

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Midway through the 2019 Formula 1 season, Red Bull Racing opted to replace Pierre Gasly with Alexander Albon. The two drivers effectively swapped seats, with Gasly demoted to Red Bull's B-team, Toro Rosso (now called AlphaTauri). For Albon, though, this was a massive boost for his career, as he was now racing in one of the fastest cars in the sport. And this in only his first season!

The young man impressed from the very first moment and made his presence felt at the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix. Everyone agreed that Red Bull had made the right move to sign the Thai driver and that Max Verstappen, finally, had a team mate that could help him bring home the bacon.

More than a year on from joining Red Bull, Albon is nowhere near a competitive level. He trails Verstappen in the championship and, in the last race, the Portuguese GP, he was lapped by his Red Bull team mate. His performance throughout 2020 is nothing to write home about, and not even the podium finish at the Tuscan GP could mask the fact that his seat at the next year is in serious jeopardy.

READ: Gasly vs. Albon - Which of these two drivers have performed better in 2020 so far?

Albon is out. Fact.

Leading up to the Portuguese GP, Red Bull's management announced that they would have to look outside their talent pool if Albon should be replaced. The driver was given an ultimatum: use the next two or three races to prove that you belong in the team, or you're out. It's a simple order, but one that Albon couldn't maintain around the Portimão Circuit.

During the race, he was lapped by race winner Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, as well as Verstappen. This did not do Albon's case any good, and with a limited number of races to prove his worth, it is unlikely that he will be able to do just that.

READ: Alex Albon under threat as Red Bull admits to not ruling out Perez, Hulkenberg for 2021

Sadly, the scenario thickens for Albon, because AlphaTauri will retain Gasly for 2021 and likely partner him with the 20-year-old Yuki Tsunoda from Japan, who is backed by Honda. With AlphaTauri out of the question, it is unlikely that Albon will find a racing seat at any other team. Those who are yet to announce their driver line-ups for 2021 - Williams, Haas, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes - already have possible drivers in mind, of which Albon is not one.

If Albon does manage to convince Red Bull's top brass to retain his services, he'll be a very lucky man. But as things stand at the moment, there is very little that suggests we'll see him in an F1 car next year.

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