Red Bull has not ruled out Alex Albon’s move to Williams being the precursor for a potential technical or engine partnership between the Formula 1 teams in the future.

Following weeks of discussions, Red Bull has helped pave the way for development driver Albon to make his F1 return with Williams next year.

And with Red Bull ramping up its power unit division to become an engine manufacturer, and Williams open-minded on its long-term plans, there has been speculation that the Albon deal could be a first step in closer ties going forward.

Speaking at the Italian Grand Prix, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said that, at the moment, his company's focus was on managing to supply its own team and AlphaTauri from next year.

But, with F1 set to switch to all-new engine regulations from 2026, he suggested that the door was open on something happening longer term.

"Obviously we don't have an engine facility yet," explained Horner. "We're busy building that and we've got enough on our plate supplying two teams at this point in time.

"But, of course, when new regulations are on the horizon, you can never say never in the future."

The deal to get Albon in the Williams is the first time in years that Red Bull has looked outside its own team and AlphaTauri to place one of its affiliated drivers.

Horner said that Red Bull would miss Albon's input, with the Thai driver severing his contractual ties to the Milton Keynes-based outfit while he races for Williams.

"We will miss him because of his experience and his work ethic," he said. "He's just a very strong team player.

"But we have some great young talent as well coming through and developing. We've Liam Lawson, Dennis Hauger in F3, so we're not short of talent. Then we have more experienced guys as well like Sebastian Buemi and Jake Dennis."

However, until Albon is released from his contract, Horner was clear that his team would work him hard as it pushes on with its 2022 car development.

"Alex is with us until the end of the year, or at least until the end of the season," he said.

"His work rate over the next three months will be significant."