Alex Albon Ansusinha is a 26-year-old racing driver making a comeback to F1 with Williams Racing. Born to Thai British parents Albon prefers to race under the Thai flag. His father, Nigel Albon, a British racing driver, married Kankamol, a Thai national. Albon is a dual Thai-British citizenship holder. Alban, guided by his father, started racing karts at the age of eight. He has competed in F1 through half of 2019 as well as the full 2020 F1 season. He completed his test driving duties for Red Bull in 2021. Red Bull and Williams came to an agreement that Albon should return to F1 as a driver for Williams.
In 2005, at the age of 8 years, Albon took to competitive kart racing and won the local Hoddesdon Championship. In 2006 Albon started competing in the cadet call of kart racing. That year he won the Kartmasters British Grand Prix and also the Super 1 National Honda Cadet Championship. He followed it up with a second place in the latter championship in 2007. From 2008 to 2010 Albon won various championships in the KF3 class. In 2011, Albon graduated to KF1 class securing second place in both the WSK Euro Series and the CIK-FIA World Championship.
Alex Albon’s Single Seater Racing Career
Formula Renault 2.0
Albon shifted to single-seater car racing when he joined EPIC Racing in 2013. In his first year as a motor racing driver, Albon finished 38th of 49 competitors in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup series. The following year he joined KTR to race in the Eurocup Formula 2.0 season. Although Albon could not win a single race out of the 14 races, he did secure one pole position at the Nurburgring. He finished third in the championship.
European Formula 3
In 2015, Albon joined Signature to race in European Formula 3. His teammate was Dorian Boccolacci. He finished in a creditable seventh place with two pole positions and five podium finishes. He had accumulated 187 points during the championship.
Alex Albon also participated in the 2015 post-season testing with ART Grand Prix along with his teammate Charles Leclerc. In 2016 Alex raced for ART in the GP3 Championship. Claiming four wins, Albon finished second only to his teammate in the championship.
Formula 2 Championship
Staying with ART for 2017, Alex was promoted to FIA Formula 2 Championship racing. He raced with Nobuharu Matsushita as his partner. On his debut in Bahrain Albon qualified third on the grid for the sprint race. When Matsushita was penalised several places for mechanical problems, Albon was promoted to second place. But Albon struggled for grip throughout the race finishing seventh.
In the Spanish Grand Prix Albon lost his lead to Oliver Rowland due to a safety car appearing in response to a stalled car in the tenth round. He eventually finished the feature race in fifth place. In the sprint race, Albon started on the grind. In a running battle with Leclerc, he lost his place to the Monegasque driver. He dropped back later in the race finishing eighth in the sprint.
Albon finished a disappointing 5th and 8th in the feature and sprint races respectively in Monaco. He had started in the 2nd and fifth positions on the grid in the two races respectively. He missed out on the Baku round because of a broken collarbone while on a mountain biking training round. He could not use the over the shoulder safety seat belt because of the injury.
Albon was back for the fifth round in Austria. He qualified in 4th place for the feature race and was promoted to third because a driver ahead of him was disqualified. He finished the race in the fifth position. Albon earned his first podium in F2 in the sprint race when he started in the fourth position and finished the race in the second. He would later win another podium position in Abu Dhabi. Finishing in the second position in the last event of the season, Albon finished the season in the 10th position.
In 2018, Albon signed with DAMS for the opening round and was later confirmed as a full-time driver for the season. He started the season with fourth and thirteenth place finishes in the feature and sprint races in Bahrain respectively. While claiming his first F2 win in the feature race in Baku, Albon finished a distant thirteenth in the sprint. Albon did well to secure two more pole positions at the next two venues in Barcelona and Monaco. In Barcelona, he finished fifth and second in the feature race and the sprint race respectively. In Monaco, Albon had to retire due to collisions in both races.
In Castellet, an engine failure would cause Albon to retire in the feature race. He finished seventh in the sprint race. At the Red Bull Ring, Albon finished fifth in both races. Albon won the feature race at Silverstone, the sprint race at the Hungaroring and the feature race at Sochi. A stalled engine in the feature race in Abu Dhabi cost Albon the championship. He finished fourteenth and eighth in the two races respectively, He ended the FIA F2 2018 season in third place.
2019:Toro Rosso/Red Bull
Albon was signed by Nissan e dams as one of its drivers for the 2018-19 Formula E season. But he was released before the beginning of the season when rumours surfaced that he was going to race for Toro Rosso in the 2019 Formula One season. On 26 November 2019, Toro Rosso confirmed that Albon will be one of its drivers for the upcoming season. Alex Albon became the second driver after Prince Bira in 1954 to race in Formula One under the Thai flag.
With Daniil Kvyat as his teammate, Albon scored his first F1 point when he finished 9th in the second race of the season in Bahrain. In China, Albon had to start from the pit lane after a crash in FP 3. He finished tenth in the race and earned the ‘Driver of the Day’ award. Finishing 8th in the Monaco Grand Prix added to Albon’s points tally. Starting with the Candian Grand Prix, where he had to retire, Albon went through four races without gaining any points.
In the rain-affected German Grand Prix, Albon finished sixth while Kvyat went on to win Toro Rosso’s second ever podium finish. Albon however finished tenth in the Hungarian Grand Prix after a keen battle with his teammate.
Red Bull announced on 12 August 2019 that Pirre Gasly will interchange places with Alex Albon at Toro Rosso. Albon had to start the first race with Red Bull, The Belgian Grand Prix from the 17th position due to a power unit change. He however recovered from the handicap to finish fifth in the race. A couple of 6th place finishes in Italy and Singapore saw Albon improve on his points tally. A crash in the qualifying at Sochi meant that Albon had to start the race from the pit lane. He came through the field to claim fifth place at the finish line.
In Japan, After he and Max Verstappen had set identical Qualifying times, Albon finished in a career-best 4th place. Two more 5th place finishes were to follow in Mexico and the United States. Albon looked set for a second-place finish at the Brasilian Grand Prix when he had a collision with Lewis Hamilton. Albon finished the race outside points while Hamilton was penalised. In Abu Dhabi, the last race of the season Albon was only able to finish in sixth place. He finished eighth in the standings for the season and was awarded the ‘Rookie of the Year’ award.
2020: Red Bull
For the 2020 F1 season Albon continued to race for Red Bull with Max Verstappen. In a Covid 19 affected season, Albon was again involved in a collision with Lewis Hamilton in the first race in Austria. Albon continued in the race but later retired due to an electrical fault as a result of the collision. Hamilton was later fined. Albon had an unremarkable Styrian Grand Prix finishing 10 secs after Max Verstappen. For some reason, Red Bull said, Albon lacked pace and finished 4th in the race.
Albon was held up in the traffic when lapping in the qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which meant he finished 13th fastest. He finished the race in the fifth position. Esteban Ocon passed Albon on the final lap to relegate him to fifth place at the finish in the Belgian Grand Prix. Qualifying 9th in the Italian Grand Prix, Albon finished the race in 15th position.
It was at the Tuscan Grand Prix that Albon claimed his maiden Formula One podium position. He passed Daniel Ricciardo on the 51st lap to claim the first podium finish for a Thai driver. Albon was to achieve another podium finish before the end of the season in Bahrain. He finished the 2020 F1 season 7th with 105 points and two podium finishes.
Albon was demoted to the role of a reserve and development driver for the 2021 season. But Albon retained hopes of making a comeback to F1 racing.
How Williams Racing Signed Alex Albon
Willaims was looking for a driver to replace George Russell while Albon was itching for a path back into F1 Racing. He had finished his duties with Red Bull as a reserve and development driver. Red Bull too was willing to release him to Williams while retaining “future options.” Mercedes, Williams’ engine supplier and Red Bull’s main rival was not too keen on the transfer. Merecedes later relentaed.
When Mercedes announced that they will absorb George Russell into their works team, Albon’s path to Williams Racing was clear. Red Bull immediately announced that they were releasing Albon. Williams were prompt to announce to the world that Albon will partner Nicholas Latifi for the 2022 F1 season. Latifi will continue as a Williams driver for the third season in a row.
Williams boss Jost Capito was “extremely excited” with his new acquisition, “with both drivers bringing a blend of youth and experience” to the team. Alex Albon is back In F1 racing for the 2022 season!