Alexander Albon: Anglo-Thai F1 driver signs for Williams for 2022 season

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Nicholas Latifi (Left) and Alex Albon (Right)
Nicholas Latifi (left) and Alexander Albon (right) will be Williams' drivers next season

Alexander Albon will return to the Formula 1 grid next season with Williams.

The Anglo-Thai lost his race seat at Red Bull last year and has spent this season as their reserve driver.

Williams have also announced that Canadian Nicholas Latifi will stay with the team for a third consecutive season.

"Alex is one of the most exciting young talents in motorsport," Williams team principal Jost Capito said.

"Yet he comes with a large amount of F1 experience from his time at Red Bull," he continued.

Albon, 25, made his Formula 1 debut with Red Bull's second team Toro Rosso in 2019, before being promoted to the senior team mid-way though the season in a swap with Pierre Gasly.

He is a replacement at Williams for George Russell, a close friend of Albon, who is moving to Mercedes in 2022.

Albon said: "I am really excited and looking forward to returning to a Formula 1 race seat in 2022.

"When you take a year out of F1, it's never certain you will make a return so I'm extremely thankful to Red Bull and Williams for believing in me and helping me on my journey back to the grid.

"It's also been great to see all the progress Williams have been making as a team this year and I look forward to helping them continue that journey in 2022."

Williams did not say whether Albon would retain links with Red Bull into next season, but Capito said: "He is a Williams driver in 2022 and we decide what he is doing and what he is not doing."

A Red Bull spokesperson said: 'We have released Alex to become a Williams Racing driver in 2022 but retain a relationship with him that includes future options."

Capito added: "It was a difficult decision because there are a couple of really good and promising drivers out there.

"It was the combination of youth and F1 experience and also a really good fit in the team.

"Alex and Nicky [Latifi] were team-mates in Formula 2 and Williams is at a stage right now where we have to make sure we have a good communication between both sides of the garage. They know each other and that was part of the consideration."

Capito also confirmed he had discussed Albon with Russell.

"I built a very close relationship with George through this season and of course he told me what he thinks of Alex and that they are personal friends as well," Capito said.

"It is very much appreciated what George thinks about Alex but I also had to be very rational about it. I wouldn't say it influenced, but it confirmed my decision."

Latifi, who is in his second season in F1, said: "The team is moving in a more competitive direction with new owners, management and people on the technical side.

"I've felt at home here since the day I arrived, and I think I'm in the right place to continue with my positive trajectory. The aim is to continue making little improvements so we can all take advantage of the opportunity we have next year."

Capito said: "Nicky is doing a really good job this year and still improving and he can do a really good job next year."

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