By his own admittance, Alexander Albon was on the verge of giving up on his racing ambitions after he was dropped from Red Bull's junior programme back in 2012.
The British-Thai racer was officially nominated this week as a full-time Toro Rosso driver for 2019, racing alongside F1 returnee Daniil Kvyat in 2019.
A top-3 contender in this year's FIA Formula 2 championship, Albon's promotion to the big time is fully warranted, and marks his second entry into the Red Bull family after his recruitment by Helmet Marko in 2012.
However, Albon only enjoyed the energy drink company's support for a single year, and he now admits that his eviction from Red Bull's programme led him to doubt his future in motorsport.
"Very tough, it was a difficult year for me for numerous reasons, not least because of my results, but it made me work that much harder," he remembers.
"I was on the brink of stopping racing all together. Since then, I knew I had to impress every time I drove and fortunately Dr. Marko gave me a second chance."
Despite the setback, Albon kept his head down, eventually shining in GP3 in 2016 alongside his ART team mate and future series champion Charles Leclerc.
The 22-year-old's campaign this year in F2 convinced Marko that Albon was back on the right track.
"I never gave up on it, I needed to believe that it could still happen," he said.
"Having said that, I knew that my chance of going to F1 was very slim as I didn't have a proper budget
"In reality, the only way I was going to have the opportunity was through Toro Rosso/Red Bull, but as we all know, it is not easy to impress Dr. Marko."