Alex Albon has replaced Pierre Gasly at the team from this weekend’s following Gasly’s struggles over the first part of the season.

Gasly has replaced Albon alongside Daniil Kvyat at ’s junior team , with explaining that has taken place to assess who it should pair with next season.

Speaking for the first time since the driver swap, team principal said “the ideal is we will select the driver to be alongside Max next year from that pool of drivers that we have under contract”.

“If we feel that none of the drivers within the pool can get the job done then of course we will look external to that,” said Horner. “But I am confident that the talent we have within the group will be sufficient.”

By holding the seat for the rest of 2019, Albon is best-placed to stake his claim for the driver full-time next year.

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The list of options outside the trio of Albon, Gasly and Kvyat is not expansive, with outgoing driver arguably the most appealing of those available.

Asked by Motorsport.com if Hulkenberg was of interest, Horner replied: “Obviously we monitor the situation externally but it is unlikely we will take a driver from outside our own development programme.

“But as I said, [ will look elsewhere] if we feel we don’t have a driver who can get the job done – like we did with Mark Webber, he was taken from externally.”

Former driver has been linked with a return as his attempts to win a championship with Ferrari continue to be foiled.

Vettel won four titles with the team from 2010 to 2013 but is contracted to Ferrari until the end of 2020.

When Vettel left to join Ferrari for 2015, he did so one year before his contract was due to end.

However, Horner insisted: “He is not available next year. He is a Ferrari driver. He is contacted until the end of 2020.”

has promoted Vettel, , Kvyat, Verstappen, Gasly and Albon to the senior team since it signed Webber from for 2007.

Horner believes that philosophy works, pointing to ’s strong debut season at Ferrari.

“If we hadn’t take the risks on youngsters previously, they would have never come through and never delivered for us,” said Horner.

“Leclerc’s doing a pretty decent job at Ferrari. I think Albon’s done a very good job for , they are higher in the constructors’ than they’ve been for over 10 years.

“It’s very easy to be conservative. You have to be a little braver, and a bit more ambitious sometimes, and take the risk with a youngster.”

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