Alexander Albon says the main factor behind his decision to return to Formula 1 with Williams next year is down to the team looking “on the up”.
Following a year on the sidelines as Red Bull’s reserve driver, Albon will be back on the F1 grid in 2022 after securing a seat at Williams alongside Nicholas Latifi.
The Anglo-Thai driver was among several candidates to replace Mercedes-bound George Russell, and was also linked with a move to rivals Alfa Romeo.
Despite finishing last in the constructors’ championship the past three years, Williams has made significant progress this year, scoring points in three of the last four races to sit eighth in the team standings.
Explaining why Williams was his first choice for his F1 comeback, Albon said its recent revival made it a very appealing option.
“Firstly, I would say that they’re both great teams,” Albon said, as quoted by Motorsport,com. “Looking at Williams, I would say that the first thing is, they look like they’re on the up.
“They’ve obviously got the investment coming in, but also I had the chance to visit the team and they all seemed very positive, optimistic. They were very keen to talk to me and get involved and to make things happen.
“It seemed like a great choice to get back onto the grid.”
Albon believes the media played a pivotal role in him landing the Williams drive, having initially not looked in the frame for the seat.
“I honestly think that you guys drive the push more than anyone else,” Albon said. “On my side, things were still obviously talking. But let’s say, there were other names being mentioned.
“At the same time, I was still making sure there were options out there. Of course, things moved quickly though, and it was probably especially true, I mean, when the news that there was chances when George was moving to Mercedes and Valtteri moving to Alfa, things picked up pretty quickly.
“There were obviously earlier discussions being had with Jost [Capito] and with Williams, and yeah, it just came to be. Obviously I had a lot of help from Christian [Horner] and Dr Marko as well.”
Albon’s chances of joining Williams appeared under threat when Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested Mercedes boss Toto Wolff attempted to block a deal from being agreed.
But Albon stressed there was no interference that resulted in contract negotiations proving challenging.
“Not really. I don’t want to go into detail about that too much, to be honest. I think obviously, it’s inevitable that things are gonna happen. But, just great that you know everything worked out.”