Red Bull call on Albon to 'justify' 2021 seat at Portimao & Imola

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Alex Albon needs to "justify" his Red Bull place for 2021 with his performance at Portimao and Imola, Christian Horner says.

Following a difficult race at the Nurburgring, the first signs of unhappiness with the Thai driver emerged from Red Bull's influential advisor Helmut Marko.

The Austrian also said the team was looking to confirm their line-ups next year by the Turkish Grand Prix next month.

And Horner appeared to confirm that as he outlined what Albon needs to do.

“We want Alex to claim that seat and basically justify that there is no need to look at any other alternative than Alex,” he said via

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“It felt like in Mugello he was starting to turn the corner and so on, but he’s had a couple of difficult weekends, so he needs to bounce back here I think and particularly Imola with a strong weekend from start to finish. So that’s our focus, that’s our objective.

“He’s a popular member of the team but we need two cars closer together in order to fight the Mercedes, and that’s what we’ve got to do. That’s our target.”

In terms of alternatives, Marko mentioned Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, who are both currently without seats for next season, and again, the Red Bull team boss backed the Austrian up.

“No. I think AlphaTauri are pretty settled with their drivers," he said on if Pierre Gasly or Daniil Kvyat would be considered.

“As I say, our preference is very much Alex, but if we had a look at a different solution, then obviously we would have to look outside of the Red Bull pool of drivers, simply because there is no one available that we would look to put in.

“There’s some quality drivers, obviously, on the market, that could be unemployed for next year.”

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As for Albon himself, he admits the emphasis now is on him to meet the level Red Bull demand.

“I know I’ve got to get the job done,” he is quoted by RaceFans. “That’s no secret in this sport. Obviously, performance is priority, but there are no set goals in terms of statistics or anything.

“It’s just improvements and, of course, closing the gap to Max, that’s a very easy way to look at it. But in terms of that sense, I haven’t been given any instruction.

“I feel qualifying has been improving, of course, there’s still a gap [to Verstappen]. But in general, I feel like things are coming together a bit more and you just need good weekends, clean weekends. I think that’s important.”