Red Bull sure Albon would match Gasly at AlphaTauri, blame car for lack of pace

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Red Bull has defended Alex Albon, claiming he would be just as quick as Pierre Gasly at AlphaTauri.

Despite an impressive season, including winning the Italian Grand Prix last month and currently being just one point behind Albon in the Drivers' Championship, Gasly was confirmed as staying at AlphaTauri for 2021 this week.

Prior to the announcement, however, Red Bull boss Christian Horner defended the decision not to reconsider the Frenchman for promotion back to the senior team.

"We have a lot of information on the drivers over a big period of time," he said via ESPN.

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"Pierre's done a super job today and he's driving very well in that environment with AlphaTauri, he's comfortable in that car with perhaps the less pressure that goes with that environment as well, and less expectation.

"I think their aspirations as a team are different to when it was Toro Rosso, so it makes sense that the fit works well in both directions with Pierre and the AlphaTauri team."

Still, his strong performances, including a fifth last Sunday in Portugal, are in stark contrast to Albon, who finished a lap behind teammate Max Verstappen in 12th.

Commenting on the Thai's situation after the race at Portimao, however, double world champion Mika Hakkinen suggested Red Bull's problem wasn't the driver, but instead a car too focused on Verstappen.

And Horner did suggest that if the 25-year-old was in Gasly's seat, he'd be just as competitive.

"I think the [Red Bull] car is a more difficult car to drive than the AlphaTauri, we know that and it's very, very clear," he acknowledged.

"The car is much more rear-sensitive and I think that can be unnerving for drivers. Max copes with that incredibly well, other drivers have struggled more with that. I think that's just the facts of it.

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"I think if Alex was in an AlphaTauri he'd probably be doing a very similar job to what we saw with Pierre, I have no doubts of that.

"It's just the characteristics of our car, they're struggling to commit on corner entry.

"You see it a little bit with the Ferrari with Leclerc and Vettel at the moment, you see it in the race with [Lewis] Hamilton and [Valtteri] Bottas today. That's just the way it is sometimes."

That being said, it isn't stopping Red Bull from admitting there could be better options out there in Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg.

"I think that you've got to look at all of the options," Horner said.

"I don't think we'd be doing our job if we didn't look at the situation within Formula 1 that there are obviously drivers that have significant experience and ability, it's a very unusual situation they could be available.

"So our first and foremost priority is to give Alex the opportunity to lay claim to that seat. Let's not forget when he jumped in that car last year, he outscored and outperformed Pierre significantly in the balance of 2019.

"If we were to swap them back, why would it be any different?"