Red Bull advisor and talent scout Helmut Marko has clarified Alex Albon's statement about the status of the development of their 2022 car. Marko claims Albon's comments about the team's lack of development for the 2022 model have been "misinterpreted."
The team took the fight to the end against their rivals, Mercedes, who have not lost a single constructors' championship in the turbo-hybrid era. It was an intense battle that lasted all season long. When Red Bull realized they have a realistic shot at either world title, they focused their R&D on the 2021 car. Albon commented on their 2021 campaign, saying:
“As the championship got closer and closer, we stopped focusing on next year’s car and focused more on this year’s car. Especially in the last two races in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi, we pushed a bit harder than usual, and yes, it worked well.”
Marko, however, clarified the British-Thai driver's comments, stopping fans from speculating about the team's status for the 2022 battle. He told F1 Insider:
“Albon’s statements were misinterpreted. All I can say is that we want to defend Max Verstappen’s title and are very well positioned to do so. We had two different development programs running in 2021. Both worked.”
The 78-year-old F1 veteran also claims that the 2022 championship battle will once again be between Mercedes and Red Bull unless some other team finds the secret recipe and exploits the new regulation changes. He said:
“There’s no reason to believe that Mercedes and we aren’t the favorites again this year – unless someone has found the philosopher’s stone in the new regulations.”
Red Bull team principal praised Alex Albon in 2021
Team principal Christian Horner praised Alex Albon for his role as the reserve and test driver for the team in 2021. The Briton called Albon an "unsung hero" in their battle against Mercedes. He said:
“Alex is an absolutely an unsung hero of this season, the hours that he’s put in, behind the scenes, in the dark simulator room, in the bowels of the factory late on a Friday evening, supporting the race drivers, assisting them, he’s done an unbelievable job.”
The former mother team driver also acted as a mentor and driving coach for AlphaTauri rookie Yuki Tsunoda, who showed signs of improvement towards the end of the season thanks to Albon's help. Horner spoke about their relationship, saying:
“He’s also acted as a driver coach in the second half of the season to Yuki [Tsunoda], who’s made real progress, and we’ll be sad to see Alex go but we’re delighted he’s got a seat in Formula 1 next year and we’ll be rooting for him next season.”
Red Bull have parted ways with Alex Albon for the time being, with the young driver replacing George Russell at Williams in 2022.