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

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

The highly-rated Thai was earlier touted in 2024 as a potential replacement at Mercedes for the outgoing Lewis Hamilton or to regain the seat he lost at Red Bull to Sergio Perez before 2021 if the Mexican is dropped.

But Albon's early entry into the driver market and his commitment to Williams reveal some things about the current situation and how things will shape up over the next few years, even if Albon made his decision incredibly early.

What it means for Albon

If you're Alex Albon, at the moment, the only two seats Williams has left are at Mercedes and Red Bull.

Other seats that would represent a step forward for him are Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin – but all six of those seats are locked in the long term until at least the end of 2026.

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

Talks have been ongoing between Albon's camp and with Brackley and Milton Keynes, so Albon has apparently been told he is not under consideration for any places at those two teams.

Faced with committing himself to rebuilding a Williams team that has faltered somewhat this season, or jumping ship to start over elsewhere, the choice facing Albon was ultimately relatively simple.

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 full, with Mercedes, Red Bull, Alpine, RB, STEK/Audi and Haas all vacant, as well as Williams' second seat. Next to Albon.

For Williams specifically, Albon's re-signing suggests they may be tempted by a younger driver, potentially Andrea Kimi Antonelli, as Albon would provide the necessary security and stability, especially with the transition period until 2026 occurring.

Vowles does not want to hold back his rebuilding process by having two new drivers in the car, taking time to get up to speed, time which Williams does not have in the extremely tight midfield battle.

Racing News 365 It is understood that the Haas team seats are likely to go to Oliver Biermann and Zhou Guanyu, while the RB seats are set to be decided between incumbents Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo and third driver Liam Lawson.

This leaves the second Stake/Audi seat in addition to the two at Alpine, with Carlos Sainz the favorite for the former with Alpine likely to be promoted from within if Pierre Gasly or Esteban Ocon departs.

As for Mercedes, their pursuit of Max Verstappen, for 2025 at least, looks set to fail which means Toto Wolff needs someone to partner George Russell, perhaps as a stopping point for a season or two if Antonelli is not deemed ready for an immediate promotion. For the team. Albon could have been a strong contender for the role, but he took himself out of Wolff's equation.

Every Red Bull-linked driver on the grid has been touted for a potential return in 2025 if Perez doesn't step up to the plate and start performing on a consistent basis for the team, but five races into the new season, he has four podium finishes and is sitting nicely in second place in the Ranking.

This is exactly the kind of model that needs to be kept in place and Albon, or any other driver, especially those at right-back, kept at bay.


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