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Alexander Albon: Driving Formula 1 forward for Thailand

alex albon grid

Thailand is a country that is very enthusiastic about its sport, and that is highlighted by the growing presence that Formula 1 has within the nation led by their local hero on the current grid – Alex Albon..

The sport still has a long way to go before it can claim to be at the same level of popularity as sports such as soccer and MMA, but a growing number of bettors with are making wagers on the action weekly.

However, it looks incredibly unlikely that a Grand Prix will be taking place in Thailand in the near future, which means that fans will have to watch from afar on the television screens. But, the nation is at least represented on the grid.

Albon’s Early Life

Despite representing Thailand on the F1 grid, Albon was born in London in March 1996. He came from a motor racing family, with his father forming a career competing in the British Touring Car Championship. However, his mother is from Thailand, which led to him competing under a Thai-British flag on the F1 grid.

Albon’s childhood was spent in England, as he lived in Suffolk and went to school in Ipswich. The current driver dreamt of competing in Formula 1 from a young age, and he cited Valentino Rossi and Michael Schumacher as the drivers that he aspired to be like when he grew up. Albon, like many other drivers on the grid, took his first steps into the sport by competing in karting from the age of eight.

He won his first local championship in 2005, before later landing a victory in the Super 1 National Honda Cadet Championship in 2006. After a number of victories on the karting circuit, Albon graduated to the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Series, where he drove for EPIC Racing.

European Formula 3 & Formula 2

After impressing throughout his karting career, Albon took the step up into the European Formula 3 in 2005, where he raced for Signature. In the overall standings, he finished seventh overall, which included two pole positions and five podiums. In the following year, he would compete in the GP3 Series, where he would square off against Charles Leclerc for the championship.

Albon eventually finished second to the current Ferrari driver, before then competing in the Formula 2 Championship in 2017 with ART. Albon’s best early season finish saw him take second in the ART Grand Prix, before finishing tenth overall in the drivers’ championship standings.

He then competed at DAMS alongside Nicholas Latifi in 2018, before he later finished third in the overall standings at the end of the season behind George Russell and Lando Norris.

Formula 1

Albon finally made the breakthrough in Formula 1 in 2019, as he signed for Toro Rosso following the constructors split with Red Bull. On his debut race, he qualified 13th and finished 14th, before he scored his first points with a ninth-place finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Albon managed to reach the final stage of qualifying for the first time in his career later in the season in Monaco and concluded the race in the eighth spot.

His big move in F1 would come in 2019, as it was announced that he would be partnering Max Verstappen at Red Bull for the remainder of the season. In his first race at the Belgian Grand Prix, he recovered well after starting 17th on the grid to take fifth. The best finish in his first stint came as he finished fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix.  In the 2019 season, he ended eighth in the Drivers’ Championship and was named Rookie of the Year.

The following season would be his final campaign with Red Bull, and his campaign started well with a fifth-place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix. However, a crash at the British Grand Prix and slow starts in Italy and Belgium saw his position coming under threat. However, he did take a first podium at the Tuscan Grand Prix, as he became the first Thai driver to finish in the top three.

Move To Williams

Following the 2020 season, Albon was demoted to reserve driver following the arrival of Sergio Perez, before he finally forced his way back onto the grid in 2022 following George Russell’s switch to Mercedes. In his first race for the new team, he finished 13th in Bahrain, before he scored points at the Australian Grand Prix.

The 2022 season would end with some highlights, including a tenth-place finish at the Belgian Grand Prix, which saw him conclude the season in 19th place in the Drivers’ standings. However, the 2023 season will bring with it fresh hope that Williams can force their way into the midfield.