Alex Albon has been linked with a 2025 move to Mercedes following the confirmation of Lewis Hamilton’s decision to join Ferrari next year; Albon’s strong performances last year also saw him linked with a return to Red Bull; watch every F1 race in 2024 live on Sky Sports F1
6:12, UK, Tuesday 06 February 2024
Alex Albon says he needs to maintain his performance in 2023 “and do a lot more” to ensure he is in the “opportunity” to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2025.
Following Hamilton’s shock decision to join Ferrari in 2025, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is now looking for another team-mate for George Russell next year.
Albon’s previous campaign, in which the 27-year-old finished 13th in the drivers’ standings and pipped Williams to seventh, saw him join the race at the front of the team.
There has also been speculation that the Thai-born British driver could be a candidate to return to Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen, with Sergio Perez’s contract expiring at the end of the season.
“Really, the goal is not done at this point,” Albon said Sky Sports news Williams launched their 2024 campaign on Monday.
“It’s a lot of work behind the scenes. I’m just focused on Williams and the positive attitude we’re living in and trying to do the best job I can.
“Obviously, the interest comes in the games, that’s why there’s a buzz, because of the season we had last year.
“I have to continue this and do more to make sure this opportunity is there.
“At the same time, I’m focused on Williams at the moment, and a lot will be about the first few races on the calendar, and seeing how we’ve done as a team.”
Hamilton at Ferrari will be ‘pinch yourself’ time
Albon said he was “as surprised as anyone” by the sudden announcement of Hamilton’s switch to Ferrari.
The seven-time international’s move was confirmed just five months after he signed a contract extension at Mercedes which is expected to keep him with the team until the end of 2025.
However, the Brit has opted to trigger a break in the deal, meaning 2024 will be his 12th and final season with Mercedes.
“I was [shocked],” Albon said. “I have to say, I think we usually have more information on these kinds of trends a week or two before the announcement. But I was in Spain at the time, and I think I was as surprised as anyone.
“It’s amazing for the sport. I think that the result, the buzz around Formula 1, should be one of the biggest things in the market for sending information in a good time, especially F1.
“So it’s fun to see, and, for me, a little bit of a pinch yourself moment. It just seems strange to think of Lewis in a red overall.”
When is the F1 pre-season testing?
Pre-season testing takes place from Wednesday February 21 to Friday February 23 at the Bahrain International Circuit with just three days left for teams to prepare for the new season.
When is the first F1 race?
A week later, the opening race of the 2024 season will begin with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29 to March 2.
Due to the Muslim holy period of Ramadan, Bahrain and, seven days later, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, will be held on Saturday.
This means practice one and two will take place on Thursday, with the final practice and qualifying on Friday.
24 races in 2024! Watch every line-up of next season on Sky Sports F1, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Watch every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership
Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!
Now you can start receiving messages and notifications about the latest sports news, analysis, in-depth and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!
Find out more here…