Williams Formula 1 boss Jost Capito says the arrival of Alex Albon in 2022 does not mark the start of a firm connection between the team and Red Bull.
Williams announced earlier this month that it had signed current Red Bull reserve driver Albon for next season, replacing the Mercedes-bound George Russell.
Albon raced for Toro Rosso and Red Bull in 2019 and 2020, but dropped into a reserve role with Red Bull for this year after losing his seat to Sergio Perez.
Red Bull revealed at the time of Albon’s confirmation at Williams that while it had released him from his contract for next year, they retained a relationship with future options to work together.
Albon is set to race with some kind of Red Bull branding next year, but Capito explained that Red Bull Thailand would serve as a personal sponsor for the Anglo-Thai driver, who would be a full Williams driver.
“He is a full Williams driver, with no contract with Red Bull,” Capito said.
“What he has is [that] Red Bull Thailand is his personal sponsor all through his career. And he has the right to have personal sponsors.
“So he will keep Red Bull as his personal sponsor. But it’s not a Red Bull-Williams connection.”
Red Bull will become a power unit supplier from 2022 after taking over Honda’s engine operations, and has not ruled out a possible partnership with Williams in the future. Williams currently has a power unit deal in place with Mercedes until the end of 2025.
Albon has played a key role at Red Bull this year, supporting the full-time drivers with extensive work in the simulator as the team bids to win a first F1 constructors’ title since 2013.
Capito was therefore doubtful of any concrete preparation for Albon with Williams until the season was over, but was hopeful of beginning work after Abu Dhabi.
“He is still working for Red Bull, and he is in their simulator and doing work for them,” Capito said.
“His contract ends at the end of the year, so when we are talking, it is more personal stuff. It’s not technical stuff, because we keep that very separate. That’s the right thing to do.
“After the last race, that’s when they normally change it. The contract of course starts in January.
“But I think we will talk to Red Bull and say what can we do, does he stop working for you after the last race? Because he does a lot of sim and race preparation.
“They [may stop] after the last race, and then can get involved with us.”