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Alex Albon: Williams driver signs 'long-term' contract extension to end speculation over his Formula 1 future

Alex Albon has signed a deal to remain with Williams until at least the end of the 2026 Formula 1 season; the British-born Thai driver had been linked with moves to both Red Bull and Mercedes; watch the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend

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Alex Albon discusses his decision to extend his contract with Williams with James Vowles.

Alex Albon has signed a multi-year contract extension with Williams.

The British-born Thai driver had been linked with both Red Bull and Mercedes but has now agreed a deal that will keep him with Williams until at least the end of the 2026 Formula 1 season.

Confirming the extension on Wednesday, Williams said Albon had signed "a multi-year contract extension which takes the partnership into the new era of Formula 1 regulations," which will be introduced in 2026.

The 28-year-old joined Williams in 2022 after a year out of the sport, having been let go at the end of 2020 by Red Bull following a season as Max Verstappen's team-mate.

"I am incredibly happy to be remaining with Williams Racing and to continue working with such a talented and dedicated team of people," Albon said.

"It has been a difficult start to the year but since joining Williams we have made significant progress together and I have seen the huge changes happening behind the scenes to take us back to the front of the grid.

"This is a long-term project that I really believe in and want to play a key role in which is why I have signed a multi-year contract. The journey will take time but I am confident we are building the right team to move forward and achieve great things in the years to come."

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Despite team principal James Vowles having repeatedly dismissed speculation over Albon's future by insisting his previous contract ran until the end of 2025, as recently as the Miami Grand Prix earlier this month, the Thai driver had refused to confirm he would be driving for Williams next season.

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On Ted's Notebook, Alex Albon humoured David Croft's dislike of his panda helmet for the Chinese Grand Prix

Williams appeared to be making progress as Albon drove impressively to finish 13th in the 2023 world championship, but the team have failed to score a point in the opening six races of the current campaign.

"We are delighted to secure Alex's long-term future with Williams Racing," Vowles said.

"He has exceptional talent, technical input and dedication to the cause and this is a huge vote of confidence in Williams and the journey back to competitiveness that we are on.

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Albon took Sky F1's Ted Kravitz on a tour of Bangkok to open a new sports hall for local children, sample some local cuisine and reflect on the highs and lows of his career so far

"Since joining, Alex has consistently demonstrated his ability to perform under pressure, and signing him for the long-term is a big piece of the puzzle of moving us up the grid."

Williams have yet to confirm who will drive alongside Albon in 2025, with speculation growing that current team-mate Logan Sargent is unlikely to be given a third season in F1.

What Albon's extension means for the F1 driver market?

While Vowles had attempted to quieten talk of a possible move for Albon at the end of this season, the driver himself had made it clear that he was interested in openings at Red Bull and Mercedes.

An impressive 2023 campaign had established him as a candidate to replace Ferrari-bound Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, while rumours of a return to Red Bull were given credence by the team's Thai owners being keen to give him a second opportunity alongside Verstappen.

However, an underwhelming start to the season appears to have ultimately seen Albon drop down the pecking order in one of the most competitive driver markets F1 has ever seen.

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Albon covers the track in debris to bring out the red flag in Practice One at the Australian GP

Besides a high-profile crash in Australian Grand Prix practice that left Williams with only one chassis for the remainder of the weekend, Albon has done little wrong but simply hasn't had a fast enough car to repeat the eye-catching results of 2023.

While the long-term nature of the deal is, as Vowles says, "a huge vote of confidence" for Williams, there is little doubt it reflects an acceptance on the driver's behalf that the competitive race-seat he craves was unlikely to materialise any time soon.

Part of that is surely down to Carlos Sainz's brilliant start to the season, with the driver Hamilton will replace at Ferrari having established himself as the top free agent with an early-season victory in Australia.

F1 2025 field

Team Driver Driver
Red Bull Max Verstappen ???
Ferrari Lewis Hamilton Charles Leclerc
McLaren Lando Norris Oscar Piastri
Mercedes George Russell ???
Aston Martin Fernando Alonso Lance Stroll
RB ??? ???
Haas ??? ???
Williams Alex Albon ???
Sauber Nico Hulkenberg ???
Alpine ??? ???

The Spaniard appears to be continuing to wait on Red Bull and Mercedes, with an offer from Sauber, which becomes F1's new Audi works team in 2026, reportedly on the table.

Sainz's wait continues amid uncertainty over Verstappen's Red Bull future, with Mercedes boss Toto Wolff having admitted he is waiting on the Dutchman before offering any other driver a deal.

A decision from Verstappen, who is contracted to Red Bull until 2028 but has an exit clause in his deal, is likely to result in the 10 remaining seats on the 2025 grid being swiftly filled.

Sky Sports F1's live Emilia Romagna GP schedule

Thursday May 16
1.30pm: Drivers' Press Conference

Friday May 17
8:50am: F3 Practice
10am: F2 Practice
12pm: Emilia Romagna GP Practice One (session starts at 12.30pm)
2pm: F3 Qualifying
2:55pm: F2 Qualifying
3:45pm: Emilia Romagna GP Practice Two (session starts at 4pm)
5:30pm: The F1 Show

F1 visits Europe for the first time in 2024 with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola

Saturday May 18
9am: F3 Sprint
11:15am: Emilia Romagna GP Practice Three (session starts at 11.30am)
1.10pm: F2 Sprint
2.10pm: Emilia Romagna GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Emilia Romagna GP Qualifying
5pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook
5.30pm: Indy 500 Qualifying

Sunday May 19
7.30am: F3 Feature Race
9am: F2 Feature Race
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Emilia Romagna GP build-up
4pm: Chequered Flag: Emilia Romagna GP reaction
5pm: Ted's Notebook
8pm: Indy 500 Qualifying

Formula 1 heads to Europe as Imola returns to the calendar following last year's cancelled race. Watch the Emilia Romagna GP on May 17-19. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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