#23 ALEX ALBON
After a stellar junior career, Alex Albon was unexpectedly called up to Toro Rosso in 2019. His rookie performances impressed and he moved to Red Bull at the halfway point of his maiden year – before being dropped from the team at the end of 2020.
|Full Name||Alexander Albon Ansusinha|
|Date of Birth||23rd March 1996|
|First Race||2019 Australian Grand Prix|
Born in London in March 1996, Alex Albon is the son of former BTCC racer Nigel Albon. Though born in Britain, Albon races under the flag of Thailand as his mother is Thai. Albon’s racing idol is Michael Schumacher – so much so that his first word was “Ferrari”. He began racing competitively at the age of eight. His karting career lasted from 2006 to 2011, and in that time he never failed to finish within the top three of every championship in which he competed, fending off competition from George Russell, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc. He became a multiple karting champion before graduating to single-seaters in 2012.
After a difficult season in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2012, in which he failed to score, Albon switched from the EPIC Racing team to KTR for 2013. He finished sixteenth in his second year, with one pole position at the Red Bull Ring. He stayed with the team in 2014 and, despite not winning a race, finished third overall.
In 2015, Albon moved to the European Formula 3 series, where he finished on the podium five times and took pole position twice. He finished seventh overall in the championship. Albon joined the F1 support series in 2016, entering the GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix. The season was a close-fought battle for the crown between Albon and former karting rival Leclerc, with the Monegasque driver ultimately coming out on top. Nevertheless, Albon won four races and gained a place in Formula 2 with the ART team for 2017.
Albon’s transition year into F2 ended with him finishing tenth overall in the championship. He missed the Azerbaijan round of the championship after breaking his collarbone in a mountain biking accident. He returned for the next round, despite his collarbone still being broken. He scored two podium finishes over the course of the year. Albon moved to DAMS in 2018, partnering Nicholas Latifi. Albon started from pole for the first time in Baku and went on to win his first F2 race. Two more poles and three victories followed, leaving him in the title battle along with George Russell and Lando Norris until the end of the year. He finished third in the championship.
Albon looked set to move to Formula E for 2019, partnering Sebastien Buemi at the Nissan e.dams team. He took part in testing but before the season began was released from his contract. This was because at the end of November 2018, it was announced that Albon would partner Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso in 2019.
ALBON IN 2019
Albon made his Formula 1 debut at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, and impressed from the off, out-qualifying Toro Rosso team-mate Kvyat in their first race together at the team.He went on to pick up points for the first time at the following round in Bahrain. The third race in China reminded everyone that he was still a rookie, with a crash in Free Practice 3 which left him unable to compete in qualifying. Nevertheless, he fought back in the race to secure points for a second consecutive outing. Albon would go on to score three more top ten finishes over the first half of the season, with a best of sixth in the wet German Grand Prix.
His consistency, and Pierre Gasly’s lack of performance at the senior team, saw the pair switch places for the second half of the year, with Albon promoted to Red Bull after partaking in only twelve Grands Prix. He started near the back on debut in Belgium due to engine penalties, but performed another comeback drive and recorded a new career high of fifth. After two sixth places in Italy and Singapore, Albon crashed in qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix, but made up for it with another fine drive to finish fifth. His best result of the season followed at Suzuka, where he finished fourth. He could have bettered that with a podium finish in Brazil, but a late race nudge from Lewis Hamilton saw him finish outside of the points.
Albon’s consistency in his rookie season has been promising, with Brazil being the only time in the last eleven races. His only non-finish of the season came back at the Canadian Grand Prix, when he was caught up in a first lap commotion. Only Hamilton completed more racing laps than Alex Albon in 2019. Read more: Alex Albon’s 2019 F1 Season in Stats.
ALBON IN 2020
It was always going to be a difficult ask for Alex Albon – who was promoted to the Red Bull team with just twelve Grands Prix worth of experience – to be a match for his more established team-mate Max Verstappen. The deficit was clear from the off, and Verstappen’s advantage in qualifying over the season ultimately worked out at around two tenths per sector. There were only two qualifying sectors in which Albon set faster times than Verstappen all year.
Albon did show promise at points over the season. In the first race – the Austrian Grand Prix – he came close to victory. On fresher tyres than those around him, he scythed through the field after a late-race Safety Car period – only to be taken out of contention in a collision with Lewis Hamilton, in scenes which were not too dissimilar to the collision which robbed him of a first podium finish at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Albon recorded two podium finishes, with third places in the Tuscan and Bahrain Grands Prix. Read more: Alex Albon’s 2020 F1 Season In Stats.
Those two podiums were not enough to secure a seat at the team in 2021. One of the main storylines over the year was Albon’s fate for 2021, especially with Sebastian Vettel departing Ferrari and Nico Hulkenberg’s super-sub performances. Post-season, Red Bull opted to sign Sergio Perez as Verstappen’s team-mate for next year, with Albon stepping down to reserve driver duties. It has been a whirlwind two years for the British-Thai driver, and it remains to be seen whether this will be a break or a permanent end to his time in Formula 1.
ALEX ALBON’S F1 RECORD
|YEAR||TEAM||FINAL POSITION||POINTS SCORED||WINS||POLES||PODIUMS|
|2019||Toro Rosso / Red Bull||8th||92||0||0||0|