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Alex Albon to race in Formula 1 for Toro Rosso in 2019

by Peter Allen

Photo: Zak Mauger / FIA Formula 2

Alex Albon will race in Formula 1 in 2019 with the Toro Rosso team.

British-Thai driver Albon finished third in this year’s Formula 2 standings, and went into last weekend’s final round in Abu Dhabi with a chance of beating George Russell to the title.

He was backed by Toro Rosso owner Red Bull during his karting career and a tough first season in cars in Formula Renault, after which he was dropped.

He then had a three-year stint on the books of the Lotus F1 Team before it was bought by Renault.

Albon went on to finish second in GP3 in 2016, fighting Charles Leclerc for the title until the final round, before he stepped up to F2.

He had agreed to move into Formula E with the Nissan entry run by his F2 team DAMS, but has been released from that in order to take up his Toro Rosso drive alongside Daniil Kvyat.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year,” he said.

“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.

“I’ve always been motorsport mad and since I first got in a car it’s been my dream to be in Formula 1. To be given this opportunity is just incredible.”

The news means that all of the top three drivers in F2 this year will step up to F1 over the winter, with Russell at Williams and Lando Norris to race for McLaren.

“Alexander had an impressive Formula 2 season in 2018,” said Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost.

“He won four races and finished the championship third. The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in Formula 1.

“Scuderia Toro Rosso is very much looking forward to 2019, as with Daniil and Alex we have two young, very strong and competitive drivers.”