Max Verstappen has reacted to the news that he'll have a new teammate sitting on the other side of the Red Bull garage from Spa.
The Dutchman will be paired from the Belgian Grand Prix with F1 rookie Alex Albon who replaces Pierre Gasly following the latter's performance shortfall with Red Bull in the first half of the season.
Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko had repeatedly ruled out any mid-season changes at the Milton Keynes-based outfit, but the ruthless Austrian reneged on his position, switching Gasly with Albon and demoting the Frenchman back to Toro Rosso.
Verstappen, who first raced against Albon during his karting days, offered a brief and detached reaction to the shock news.
"Of course, it is a pity for Pierre, but I personally don't care much who my teammate is," Verstappen told the Telegraaf.
"The point is that we perform better with the other car and thereby gain more points for the team."
Former F1 driver and Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle stated that Albon will need to pull out all the stops, and then some, to survive alongside the intrepid and talented Verstappen, and with Marko breathing down his neck.
"Commiserations to Pierre, but he rides again and is still in the game," said Brundle.
"Good luck to Alex, he’s arrived in F1 in great style, but will need every tool and trick in the F1 drivers’ repertoire to survive in Max’s lair. With the star maker/grim reaper forensically observing his data."
Verstappen's countryman Giedo van der Garde, who raced in F1 in 2013 with Caterham, had a strong message of support for Gasly who, after all, has survived to fight another day at Toro Rosso.
"I feel for Pierre," van der Garde wrote on Instagram.
"But never give up mate, get your confidence back and the flow you were in last year and I’m sure you can prove everyone wrong. Give ‘m hell."
Albon's promotion means that Red Bull has entrusted its second car to one of the least experienced drivers in its history.
With 12 races under his belt, Albon surpasses Dutchman Robert Doornbos who graduated to Red Bull in 2006 after 8 races with Minardi.
At the time hwoever, the Milton Keynes-based outfit was several years away from becoming a championship winning team.