Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has said that he believed Alex Albon could have been the “surprise of the year” during winter...
Alexander Albon is a Formula 1 driver for the team of Toro Rosso. The English born Thai is in his rookie season in F1 after finishing in third place in Formula 2 in 2018, behind Williams rookie George Russell. Albon will join Daniil Kvyat at Toro Rosso
Born in England, Albon races under a Thai flag, making him the first Thai driver since Prince Bira of Siam, way back in the 1950’s.
|Team||Red Bull Racing|
Prince Bira scored just eight points during his 19 Formula One Grands Prix, but did win two non-championship races.
Albon will be hoping to eclipse the Prince’s record during his first season in F1, to impress Toro Rosso enough to grant him a second season.
Red Bull are typically brutal with the way they hire and fire drivers from their junior team, and at just 22, Albon has a lot to offer, so will be looking to score enough points and impress enough to earn himself a second season, and not to be dumped on the Toro Rosso F1 driver scrapheap, unlike so many before him.
Growing up in Hertfordshire, Albon won his local karting title aged 8 and charged his way through the karting ranks, finishing second in the CIA-FIK World Championships.
Aged just 15, Albon moved into Eurocup Renault Formula 2.0, and would spend four years in the series, failing to pick up a win but securing third place in 2015.
European Formula 3 was next, and he finished seventh in the championship, driving for Signature. Albon grabbed four wins in what was considered an impressive rookie season.
Albon graduated to Formula 3 for the 2016 season, in the same team as 2018’s rookie of the year and now Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc at ART Grand Prix.
A double retirement in the final round scuppered Albon’s chances of winning the title, which went to Leclerc despite Albon managing to take it to the last race in Abu Dhabi with a win in race 1 in Malaysia.
Although he missed out on the title, he and Leclerc both made the jump into Formula 2.
Albon and Leclerc were split up for Formula Two, with the Monegasque joining Prema Racing and Albon sticking with ART.
It’s fair to say Leclerc got the better deal, winning seven races and earning a move to Alfa Romeo Sauber, with Albon a consistent points scorer, but only troubling the podium twice as he only managed tenth in the standings.
A switch to the DAMS team made his second year in Formula 2 much better than the first. Albon finished an impressive third, behind British pair George Russell and Lando Norris, who are both also racing in F1 in 2019, for Williams and McLaren respectively.
Albon comfortably outscored his team mate Nicholas Lafiti, taking four wins compared to Lafiti’s solitary victory.
Suprise candidate in Formula 1
Albon filled the last available seat on the 2019 F1 grid after some controversy surrounding a Formula E contract. Initially not expecting to gain a Formula 1 seat, Albon signed with the Nissan e.dams Formula E team, which brought up doubts over whether he would be able to sign for Toro Rosso.
Fortunately, Nissan e.dams brought in Oliver Turvey as his replacement, releasing Albon to sign for Toro Rosso.
Albon is clearly a driver of serious talent, so it will be very interesting to see how he performs next to Kvyat, who is returning for a third Toro Rosso stint.
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