While the main story right now is all about Gasly being demoted to Torro Rosso and Albon going the other way to take the top seat at Red Bull. A seat, I might add which most drivers on the planet would like to be sitting in. There is, in my opinion another, far juicier story coming along.
Now let me make this clear – this is just my theory. I do not have any sources down the local Mercedes F1 pub though that would be a good reason for moving to Brackley.
No this is just one of those – ‘maybe that’s what’ moments.
So Christian Horner has been getting some stick because it was only a week or so ago that he said that Gasly had the seat till the end of the season. And now….now he doesn’t. But why? What changed since he said that?
Well the engineers could have gone over the data in more detail and highlighted more areas in which Gasly has been behind his teammate. Or maybe they have realised that they are now the second top team in F1 and they need another strong driver in the second seat to try and get that second place in the constructors championship. Or maybe, and this is where my theory comes in, maybe Verstappen has told Red Bull that he will be leaving for Mercedes next season and Red Bull, in a kind of panic are basically throwing Albon in to the seat quickly to better prepare him for the 2020 season.
It kind of makes sense. The next Grand Prix on the calendar is the Belgium Grand Prix. A kind of home race for Verstappen until Zolder comes along anyway. So what better time for Mercedes to announce it. The race afterwards is Monza so they might not want to do it at Ferrari’s home track out of politeness.
So Gasly was all set to have the seat for the rest of the season then Red Bull discover that shock horror – they are loosing their top driver. What do they do? Promote Albon next year and hope he doesn’t do a Gasly. Or accept that Gasly is taking too long this year, promote Albon to see what he can do and then make a decision later in the year.
Because, as I have written before, if Verstappen did go to Mercedes then Red Bull have a bit of a problem. They don’t have a new super star to directly replace him with. They lost Daniel Ricciardo to Renault because they were putting their eggs in the Verstappen basket and Daniil Kvyat hasn’t worked out for them so far. So who else is there? And don’t say Alonso. He has moved on from F1. All the other top drivers are tied up to contracts. Mercedes wouldn’t let Ocon go to Red Bull. Bottas is not good enough to beat Hamilton so why would Red Bull want him. Daniel is tied in with Renault, Hulkenburg is along shot. Mclaren drivers are locked in (though I bet Red Bull wish Carlos Sainz was still available to them). And so on…
You see my point. And this is why I think Red Bull have reacted by switching Gasly with Albon.
Something has happened that we don’t know about that has made them have to react to solve a problem which just two years ago, you would never have dreamed Red Bull would be having.
And that is my thoughts on the matter.