Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has revealed "everyone in the team" wanted to see Alex Albon partner Max Verstappen in the second seat this year.
The Thai-British driver was demoted to a reserve role, with the team preferring Sergio Perez to partner Max Verstappen for the upcoming attempt at overhauling Mercedes to become constructors' champion.
Horner has revealed it was Perez's drive in last year's Sakhir Grand Prix that won him the seat, with the Mexican claiming his maiden race win after ending the opening lap last following a collision with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.
Perez then seemed to make good of his opportunity in pre-season testing, where he posted the fastest time of the final morning at the Bahrain International Circuit.
"It was a tough decision," Horner told Sky Sports' F1 Show. "Alex, everyone in the team wanted him to retain that seat but you couldn't ignore that talent or form of a driver of Sergio's experience.
"Checo's season just got stronger and stronger. The crucial moment for him was winning the race from the back in Bahrain. That performance, you couldn't ignore what he had managed to achieve."
Red Bull delayed its decision until after the conclusion of the championship in Abu Dhabi, meaning Albon was left without an alternative avenue.
"It was a unique position last year that we were able to wait," added Horner.
"All the other seats were taken and we could wait until the end of the year before we made a decision.
"In the end, it was relatively straightforward but we were just lucky we had time on our side."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.