Red Bull have announced that Alexander Albon will replace Pierre Gasly at Red Bull from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards for rest of this season.
Gasly will therefore return to Toro Rosso in a driver swap deal, having struggled to match Max Verstappen throughout the first half of this season after being promoted to replace Daniel Ricciardo who moved to Renault.
‘Ring the changes’Embed from Getty Images
With Red Bull currently 44 points off second-placed Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings and Gasly having contributed just 25.81% of their points, Helmut Marko needed to ring the changes if they’re to mount a proper battle for that crucial runner-up spot.
Albon or Daniil Kvyat therefore were the logical options but given that Kvyat had already had his Red Bull chance, Albon rightfully was the ideal swap given his race craft in both wet and dry conditions and would provide Verstappen with stronger competition once up to speed.
Over at Toro Rosso, Kvyat and Gasly both need to focus on producing impressive performances because if Albon fails to shine, there will be an opportunity for either driver to reclaim their Red Bull seat.
Should all three fail to impress, it opens the door for Sebastian Vettel to potentially return in 2020, five years after leaving the team for Ferrari as speculation continues to circle around his future after a string of difficult races in the past year.