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I expect Alex Albon to remain at Red Bull next season: Franz Tost

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost expects Thai rookie Alexander Albon to stay at Red Bull Racing after this season, and he would be happy if he does.

The British-born driver traded places with Frenchman Pierre Gasly, who started out with Toro Rosso before being promoted to the energy drink company's senior team last month as Max Verstappen's teammate.

Red Bull said they will evaluate Albon's performance at the end of the season "in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020".

The 23-year-old has started strongly in his new surroundings, finishing fifth and sixth in the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix respectively.

"Unfortunately he's gone, but you never know what's going on in Formula One," Tost told Reuters when asked if he thought Albon would return.

YOUNG TALENT

Toro Rosso have been a feeder team since energy drink giant Red Bull bought struggling Minardi at the end of 2005 and renamed them with the aim of bringing on young talent for the senior outfit.

Successful graduates include four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, now at Ferrari after dominating with Red Bull, and race winners Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen.

"I would complain if Red Bull were taking drivers from outside," said Tost.

"Then we would have a serious problem. As long as our drivers are good enough, it's fine. I am more than happy about this.

"I feel well if a driver goes to Red Bull Racing and wins races. That's the best. Then we know we did our homework."

At the start of the year, Tost made two big predictions - that Albon would be a surprise package and Honda, engine providers to both Red Bull teams, would win races.

The blunt Austrian was mocked for the latter assertion after Honda's three years of failure with McLaren, but has been proved correct. Verstappen won in Austria and Germany.

"People laugh all the time about me. But, most of the time, I am right," he said.

Tost said Albon, who nearly went to the all-electric Formula E series before Red Bull stepped in, had impressed from pre-season testing with his tyre management and technical feedback.

"I didn't expect that he is doing such a good job. It's a positive surprise," said Tost. - REUTERS

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