Albon plays down Red Bull return rumours

Alex Albon has played down wild rumours suggesting he is in the running to replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull next year.

Last time out in Canada, only Albon’s Williams was fitted with an impressive car upgrade – but it appears as though it was a big step forwards.

Team boss James Vowles, however, hailed it as a “drive of champions” to seventh place.

Albon’s teammate Logan Sargeant will also have the new package fitted this weekend in Austria.

The American rookie says he has “spoken to Alex” about the update and “it’s quicker”.

“More downforce, so it’s just better all round,” said Sargeant.

But Albon is the one in the positive headlines at present – in part because of public praise made not only by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner but also Dr Helmut Marko.

Albon was at Red Bull’s premier team four years ago when his push for victory was put into a spin at one key race by Lewis Hamilton.

“That hit his confidence massively,” Marko said this week, adding that Albon had “a lot of bad luck” when he was a Red Bull Racing driver.

As for Horner, he admitted to watching Albon’s efforts in the Williams “as much as I watched our race” in Canada recently.

Albon says that sort of praise is nothing new.

“Christian texts me when I do well,” he said on Thursday. “It’s nice when you stay friendly with your former boss. But I’m completely focused on Williams now.

“For me, this is a long-term project,” Albon added at the Red Bull Ring, where his Red Bull successor – Sergio Perez – was absent on Thursday due to illness.

“I hope I’m here for the long haul,” Albon said, referring again to Williams. “I really like working with the team, I feel that we are progressing – and I want to participate in this.

“We’ll see how the next few years go, but right now I’m very happy with where I am.”

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