Williams introduced on Wednesday that Albon could be becoming a member of the group for the 2022 season, changing the Mercedes-bound George Russell as Nicholas Latifi’s team-mate.
It would mark a racing comeback for Albon in F1 after he misplaced his full-time seat with Purple Bull on the finish of final yr, shifting right into a reserve and check function.
Albon had attracted curiosity from each Alfa Romeo and Williams for subsequent yr, however the path to Williams appeared to be sophisticated by its standing as a Mercedes buyer group, given the rivalry between Mercedes and Purple Bull.
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff mentioned final week he would haven’t any qualms working with Albon, as long as he was “free from his Purple Bull contract”, whereas Purple Bull boss Christian Horner felt it was a “barely uncommon” demand.
Requested about Albon’s standing with Purple Bull from subsequent yr following the announcement, Williams F1 boss Jost Capito mentioned: “What I can let you know is that he’s a Williams driver in 2022. No matter meaning is as much as you.
“Possibly you need to ask Purple Bull, however for us he’s a Williams driver and that’s it.”
However Purple Bull clarified through a spokesperson that whereas Albon had been launched, there have been nonetheless hyperlinks in place between the 2 events.
“We now have launched Alex to develop into a Williams Racing driver in 2022, however retain a relationship with him that features future choices,” the assertion reads.
Albon’s signing additionally shuts off a attainable seat for Mercedes Formulation E driver Nyck de Vries subsequent yr, however Capito mentioned that Wolff understood the choice.
“I believe Toto on the finish, he understands and we perceive that we aren’t a B-team and we aren’t a satellite tv for pc group,” Capito mentioned.
Alex Albon, Nicholas Latifi, Williams
Photograph by: Williams
“We now have to take the choices which can be proper for us, and Toto absolutely respects that. And he is also absolutely conscious of the potential that Alex has, and can also be of the opinion that Alex deserves a seat in Formulation 1.
“So he’s supportive.”
Following a short stint beneath its umbrella in his early racing profession, Albon reunited with Purple Bull forward of the 2019 season when he joined its sister F1 group, Toro Rosso.
A powerful first half of his rookie season prompted Purple Bull to advertise Albon into its senior squad after simply 12 races, changing the struggling Pierre Gasly.
After scoring simply two podiums in all of final yr, Albon was changed by Sergio Perez for 2021, leaving him to take up a help function.
However Purple Bull has consistently highlighted Albon’s contribution to the group and labored to safe him a return to the grid for 2022.
When requested by Autosport if Purple Bull had an choice to name Albon as much as its group subsequent yr if both of its common drivers had been unavailable, Capito mentioned: “I simply can say he’s a Williams driver and we resolve what he’s doing and what he’s not doing.”
Albon was pictured in an AlphaTauri shirt for the announcement, however Capito mentioned his signing didn’t essentially imply there could be Purple Bull branding on the automotive.
“It doesn’t imply that Purple Bull comes on the automotive or not,” Capito mentioned.
“I’ve labored with Purple Bull a very long time. I first labored with Purple Bull within the late 90s after I was at Sauber, so I’ve acquired a relationship with Purple Bull since then, and I’m mates with the fellows from Purple Bull.
“Nevertheless it doesn’t imply they should be on the automotive or not, so we’ll see.”