Alex Albon says he is fully focused on the coming years with Williams, as his ties to Red Bull appear looser than ever.
Albon started his F1 career with the Red Bull-affiliated Toro Rosso team in 2019, before unexpectedly being drafted into Red Bull midway through the season to replace an underperforming Pierre Gasly.
Albon kept his Red Bull drive for 2020, but a series of underwhelming performances of his own saw him replaced at the end of the year by Sergio Perez.
With no suitable F1 drives available, the Thai driver raced in the DTM series for 2021, before re-joining F1 with Williams in 2022, where he has been quietly impressive despite the limitations of his machinery.
It was revealed last month that Albon had signed a 'multi-year' deal with Williams for 2023 and beyond, fuelling speculation that his ties with Red Bull had been completely cut.
In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com held before the Thai driver was forced to miss the Italian Grand Prix with appendicitis, Albon said that while he still hoped to continue a relationship with Red Bull, he was nevertheless focused on Williams and on himself.
"Red Bull have helped me from the very beginning of my career, so it would be very nice to [carry on with them], but I am kind of away from the whole family, at least for the Formula 1 side for next year," said Albon.
"So we will have a chat. And of course, I'd love to be able to carry the [Red Bull logo on my] helmet still. But let's see.
"Even this year, a lot of everything I've been doing is pretty focused on Williams. I haven't done any sim or stuff at Red Bull; I've just focused on myself. And at the same time, I'm sure the guys at Red Bull are very busy trying to win championships!"
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Albon – People would be surprised by Marko's relations
Despite having been dropped by Red Bull and their notoriously direct Special Advisor, Helmut Marko, Albon said he was still on good terms with the Austrian and everyone at Red Bull.
"I think people would be surprised, but he still keeps a very good relationship with all the drivers that he works with," Albon said of Marko.
"He's always interested to see how it's going, how I'm feeling this year, and that kind of thing.
"Obviously, less involvement than in previous years, but we still talk, and then the same with Christian [Horner, Red Bull Team Principal], I have a good relationship with all of them, we still get on well, so it's good. I guess it's a bit more casual, the conversations now, rather than pure business."
With Perez inking a contract extension at Red Bull until 2024 shortly after winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Albon says there were never any serious discussions about his re-joining the drinks-backed outfit in the near future.
"Checo [Perez] got announced pretty early, before any of those conversations would ever come up," said Albon.
"Of course, looking down the line, there's always [opportunities] everywhere up and down the paddock. But yeah, none of that conversation. It's more just casual chats."
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