Milton Keynes-based motorsport athlete Alexander Albon has landed a Formula 1 seat with Toro Rosso for the 2019 season.
Albon, who previously partnered new Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in Formula 3, takes the spot after a promising season in Formula 2. He finished behind two future F1 drivers in George Russell, who will race for Williams in 2019, and Lando Norris, who has signed for McLaren.
The driver had initially been scheduled to raise with Nissan in Formula E for 2018-19, but in a late move, the Italian-based junior team for the Tilbrook-based Red Bull Racing have confirmed Alex as their new driver.
He acts as a replacement for Brendon Hartley for 2019, and will partner the former Red Bull driver and Ferrari test racer Daniil Kvyat as part of his new team.
Albon told the official Toro Rosso website, “It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year. Throughout my single seater career, I went through a few ups and downs.
“I was dropped by Red Bull in 2012, so from then I knew my road to Formula 1 was going to be a lot harder. I worked really hard and tried to impress every time I got in the car, and I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr Marko for believing in me and giving me a second chance.
The move is the realisation of a dream for Albon, who previously told Celebrate:MK in 2017 that it was his ultimate motorsport goal to race in the sport.
At the time, he said, “The dream’s Formula One, but I can speak on behalf of almost every racing driver that it’s our dream. It is really difficult, it takes budget, and of course it takes talent. To make a career out of motorsport is hard enough as it is.
“F1 is the main goal, but earning money from full-time racing is a goal as well. This year I’ll be doing GP2, which is a step up, and it’s a step below Formula One. It’s going to be my rookie year and my goal is pretty much what I set myself last year and the year before – to take each race as it comes.
“I am a rookie but of course I still have pretty high expectations and put more pressure on myself, so we’ll see how it goes.”
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