Aston Martin Red Bull Racing is excited to confirm that Alex will continue to race with the Team in 2020 alongside Max.
After making his Formula One debut with sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso at this year’s Australian Grand Prix, Alex’s performances across the first half of the 2019 F1 season earned him an August call-up to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to partner seven time Grand Prix winner Max Verstappen. Since making his debut with the Team at this year’s Belgian Grand Prix, Alex has impressed with his approach in all areas, scoring 68 points and finishing in the top six in every race he has contested for the Team.
Commenting on the signing of the 23-year-old Thai driver, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner said; “Alex has performed extremely well since his debut with the Team in Belgium and his results – seven finishes in the top-six – speak for themselves. It’s extremely hard to deny that level of consistency and in tandem with a growing reputation as a tenacious, fiercely committed racer, Alex has proved that he fully deserves to continue his progress with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. There is plenty of potential still to unlock and we look forward to seeing Alex alongside Max in 2020.”
Alex added; “I am really excited to be partnering Max again for next year and I know how fortunate I am to be given this opportunity. I’m hugely thankful that Red Bull have put their trust in me and believed in my results since I joined the Team and for them to keep me in the car next year is a big deal. This year has been an incredible year for me and getting the call up to Red Bull mid-season was already a big step, so now I will use the learnings from this season and use the experience to improve and fight at the front in 2020.”
IN THE DEEP END - BUT HE HAD HIS SWIMMING SHORTS
After making his Formula 1 debut with sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso at this year’s Australian Grand Prix, Alex’s eye-catching performances across the first half of the 2019 F1 season earned him an August call-up to the Team to partner seven-time grand prix winner Max. _
Alex’s debut for us in Belgium was designed to be a low-key introduction to the senior squad, especially in light of the grid penalties being taken that weekend as Honda introduced an improved, new-spec power unit.
Alex had other ideas, however and though the PU changes meant he had to start from the back of the grid, the 23-year-old Thai driver stormed through the pack to claim a brilliant fifth place in his first race for the Team.
“I started off the weekend very nervous and if you had told me I'd finish the race fifth I'd be very happy, but I'm a bit more relaxed now,” he said afterwards. “In the first stint I struggled with grip in the dirty air and couldn't overtake anyone. But then once we pitted for the soft tyres, the car came alive and I was like – now we can do something!”
Alex has continued to “do something” in every race since. At the following round at high-speed Monza he qualified eighth and rose to sixth at the flag, while at the ultra-demanding Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore he qualified and finished in P6.
In Russia he was again forced to fight his way through the pack after a crash in FP3 left him starting from the pit lane. And once again, he didn’t disappoint, muscling his way through from P20 after the start to score another superb fifth place.
Alex’s best result to date came two weeks later, with a superb drive to fourth at one of F1’s most demanding tracks – Suzuka. The rookie made light work of a steep leaning curve, however, and on Sunday he put in an impressively quick but also mature and carefully managed performance to take 12 points.
“Immediately from FP1 I felt comfortable with the car and the balance, which is important for a track like Suzuka where you need a lot of confidence, especially on your first visit,” he said. “I'm still finding my feet but overall I'm happy with my pace and progress and we took a step forward this weekend.”
That became abundantly clear over the two most recent races, as Alex continued his record of finishing in the top six in every race he’s started for the Team.
In Mexico he started and finished in P5, while in the USA he liked fifth place so much he climbed to it twice during a rollercoaster race during which he dropped to the back of the field following a first-lap clash with Carlos Sainz and made three pit stops that dropped him down the order, albeit only ever briefly.
We can't wait to see what comes next...