Free from Nissan, Alexander Albon signs with Toro Rosso!

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Alexander Albon has been announced as a Toro Rosso driver for 2019, the F2 racer having been released by Nissan from his Formula E contract.

The 22-year-old British-Thai driver - who was dropped from Red Bull's junior programme in 2012 - was shortlisted earlier this year as a potential replacement for Brendon Hartley by the energy drink company's motorsport boss, Helmut Marko.

However, Albon, who finished third in this year's FIA Formula 2 championship which reached its conclusion in Abu Dhabi last weekend, had signed a deal to join the Nissan e.dams squad for a full season of Formula E.

After a period of negotiations between the driver and Nissan, the Japanese manufacturer confirmed on Monday that it had officially released Albon from his Formula E commitments, thus clearing his path to Toro Rosso.

"It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year," said Albon.

"Throughout my single seater career, I went through a few ups and downs.

"I was dropped by Red Bull in 2012, so from then I knew my road to Formula 1 was going to be a lot harder.

"I worked really hard and tried to impress every time I got in the car, and I have to say a big thank you to Red Bull and Dr Marko for believing in me and giving me a second chance.

"I’ve always been motorsport mad and since I first got in a car it’s been my dream to be in Formula 1. To be given this opportunity is just incredible."

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost welcomed Albon back into the Red Bull family and to the Faenza-based outfit.

'Alexander had an impressive Formula 2 season in 2018. He won four races and finished the Championship third," said Tost

"The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in Formula 1.

"Scuderia Toro Rosso is very much looking forward to 2019, as with Daniil and Alex we have two young, very strong and competitive drivers."

Needless to say, Albon's arrival inevitably leads to Hartley's exit from F1 after a single year. Red Bull may give a driver wings, but it can also pluck them off at will...

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