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Alexander Albon

What Albon's new Williams deal means for the 2025 driver market

What does Alex Albon's new Williams contract mean for both him and the wider 2025 F1 driver market? RacingNews365 takes a look.

Albon Miami
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

Alex Albon's decision to re-sign with Williams on what is being described as a "multi-year" deal has removed one of the biggest cogs from the driver market. 

The highly-rated Thai was touted earlier in 2024 as a potential replacement at Mercedes for the out-going Lewis Hamilton or to earn back the seat he lost at Red Bull to Sergio Perez ahead of 2021 if the Mexican was dropped.

But Albon going early in the driver market and committing to Williams reveals a few things about the state of play of how things will be shaping up over the next few years, even if Albon has gone incredibly early with his decision. 

What it means for Albon

If you are Alex Albon, at the moment, the only two seats you would leave Williams for are at Mercedes and Red Bull. 

The other seats that would represent something of a step-forward for him would be Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin - but all six of those are locked down long-term until at least the end of 2026. 

This means that any move from Williams, if it is not to Mercedes or Red Bull would be considered a sideways or even backward step for his career. 

Talks would have been ongoing between the Albon camp and with Brackley and Milton Keynes, so it is clear that Albon has been told that he is not under consideration for either seat at those two teams. 

Faced with committing himself to the Williams rebuild that has somewhat stalled this season, or jumping ship to start again somewhere else, the choice facing Albon was a relatively simple one in the end.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

So what about the rest?

With the news of Albon's re-signing, it means 10 of the 20 seats on the 2025 grid are now filled, with Mercedes, Red Bull, Alpine, RB, Stake/Audi and Haas all having vacancies, as well as the second Williams seat alongside Albon. 

For Williams specifically, Albon's re-signing indicates that it could be tempted by a younger driver, potentially Andrea Kimi Antonelli, as Albon would provide the security and stability needed, especially as the transition through to 2026 takes place.

Vowles would not want his rebuild to be undone by having two new drivers in the car, taking time to get up to speed, time that in the extremely tight battle in the midfield, Williams does not have. 

RacingNews365 understands that the Haas seats are likely to go to Oliver Bearman and Zhou Guanyu, with those at RB set to be decided between incumbents Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo and third driver Liam Lawson. 

That leaves the second Stake/Audi seat as well as the two at Alpine, with Carlos Sainz the favourite for the former with Alpine likely to promote from within should Pierre Gasly or Esteban Ocon depart. 

As for Mercedes, its pursuit of Max Verstappen, for 2025 at least, looks set to fail meaning Toto Wolff needs someone to partner George Russell, potentially as a stop-gap for a season or two if Antonelli is not deemed ready for an immediate promotion to the team. Albon would have been a strong contender for that role, but has removed himself from Wolff's equation.

Every Red Bull-linked driver on the grid has been touted for a possible return in 2025 if Perez did not up his game and start delivering on a consistent basis for the team, but five races into the new season, he has four podiums and sits nicely in second place in the standings. 

That is exactly the type of form to keep him where he is and keep Albon, or any other driver, in particular those at RB, out. 

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix