Alex Albon in 2023
Alex Albon is in his fourth season behind the wheel of an F1 car, and his fifth if you take into account the reserve role at Red Bull in 2021. After coming back to F1 in 2022 for Williams, he was retained by the British team on a multi-year contract after a positive return. American Logan Sargeant replaced former teammate Nicolas Latifi to take the other seat for Williams in 2023.
That faith shown by Williams by giving Albon a multi-year contract is paying dividends, with Albon having one of his best years in motorsport this year. The 27-year-old is finally harnessing the talent shown in glimpses in F1 and F2, and he is maximising everything he can out of a Williams car that many thought would be near the back of the grid.
The Drivers’ Standings highlights Albon’s success this season, as he sits in 13th place with 21 points, earning all the points for Williams in the Constructors’ Standings. His first point of the season came in the opening race at Bahrain, finishing in tenth place.
The eighth race of the season in Canada is where one of Albon’s best drives of the season came. After executing a successful one-stop strategy with some brilliant tyre management, Albon battled hard to keep the likes of Sergi Perez and George Russell behind him, which he did, allowing him to finish in seventh and earn his best result at Williams, which garnered praise from former team boss Christian Horner.
After getting four points at the British Grand Prix, he matched his highest career qualifying position at the Dutch Grand Prix after taking P4 on the grid at Zandvoort, which he converted into points again after finishing P8. He placed one better at the Italian Grand Prix, defending from Lando Norris to take seventh place, another superb result for Albon and Williams.
Alex Albon biography
Alex Albon always showed skill and talent behind the wheel, which gave him a spot on the Red Bull Junior Team in 2012, which was the year he was also promoted to open-wheel cars, starting in the 2012 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season. After four more years in the European Formula series, Albon earned a move to GP3 racing after doing post-season tests for ART Grand Prix, which he then drove for in 2016.
The Thai-British driver then graduated to Formula 2 with ART in 2017, and after his first season, he finished tenth in the standings with 86 points. His first win in F2 came a year later in Baku after switching teams to join DAMS, taking the feature race win after starting from the pole. After taking another two feature race wins at Silverstone and Sochi, respectively, he also earned a sprint race win at the Hungaroring, which helped him to third in the standings at the season’s end with 212 points.
Albon earns his big chance
Albon signed for Toro Rosso, pairing up with Daniil Kvyat for the 2019 season, rekindling his previous relationship with Red Bull and becoming just the second Thai driver to compete in F1.
Once again, his talent shone through as he earned his first points in his second race at the Bahrain Grand Prix, finishing ninth. More points were scored at the Chinese and Monaco Grands Prix, and his best finish at Toro Rosso came at the German Grand Prix, finishing sixth and totalling 16 points at that stage in the season.
In the same season, just after the Hungarian Grand Prix, Alex Albon made the biggest move of his career, replacing an out-of-form Pierre Gasly to take the second seat at Red Bull Racing, partnering Max Verstappen from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards until the season’s end. Gasly ended up taking Albon’s seat at Toro Rosso.
After a very positive showing in his first race around Spa, recovering from P17 to finish P5, Albon continued to show promise, which included a career-best finish in fourth at the Japanese Grand Prix, where he also set an identical qualifying time with his Dutch teammate. His debut season in Formula 1 was a great success, scoring 92 points and finishing eighth. 76 of those points were scored with Red Bull over nine races, with Verstappen scoring 97 points over the same stretch. Albon’s superb 2019 season resulted in him winning the Rookie of the Year award at the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony.
A dream move, but difficult expectations to manage
After the highs of the 2019 season, it was met with the lows of 2020, as Albon could not reignite the flair that was shown in 2019 after keeping his seat at Red Bull for the 2020 season.
The season-opening race at the Austrian Grand Prix set the tone for the Thai-British driver's season. Albon collided with Lewis Hamilton while in third place while attempting to make a move past the seven-time world champion. The collision sent him spinning into the gravel trap, and the damage sustained in the crash caused him to retire later in the race.
After a few positive results as the season continued, a slew of mistakes were made during race weekends, as Albon failed to show the talent and consistency showed in his rookie season. A mistake-filled race at the Italian Grand Prix highlighted his struggles, with a collision resulting in damage and a time penalty contributing to a disappointing P15 around Monza, costing him valuable points compared to Verstappen, with his teammate always getting more out of the car than Albon could.
There were some positives in his second F1 season, highlighted by his first-ever F1 podium at the Tuscan Grand Prix, taking third place. However, he continued with a run of just one point from the next four races, lapped by his teammate at the Portuguese Grand Prix during that dry patch.
Albon earned one more podium finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix late on in the season after Sergio Perez retired with an engine failure. But overall, 2020 was a season to forget for Albon, finishing just 7th in the drivers’ standings with 105 points, 109 less than Verstappen. This underwhelming season resulted in his demotion from Red Bull, taking up the test and reserve driver role for the 2021 season.
Second chance supplied by Williams
After a one-year hiatus from F1, Albon was quickly back onto the grid, replacing George Russell at Williams for the 2022 season and partnering up with former F2 teammate Nicolas Latifi.
After some solid mid-field results to start the season, continuously beating his teammate in both qualifying and the race itself, Albon scored his first point of the season at the Australian Grand Prix, taking a brilliant tenth place after making his mandatory and only pit stop with just one lap remaining. Just two races later, he was able to take home another two points, finishing in P9 at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. He then went on to make Q3 at the Belgian Grand Prix for the first time behind the wheel of the Williams, earning another point by finishing P10 on Sunday.
Albon then had to miss the Italian Grand Prix due to appendicitis, and following his surgery, he suffered from anaesthetic-related respiratory failure. However, three weeks later, he recovered for the Singapore Grand Prix but did not score any more points upon return. He finished a very positive return to F1 with four points in the drivers’ championship.
Alex Albon popularity
After having a tough start to his F1 career, many F1 fans are enjoying seeing the success that is greeting Alex Albon at Williams this season, and his humour is translated well throughout the paddock and F1 fans too. Being only the second Thai driver in Formula 1 history, his popularity is greatest in the Far East Asia country. He currently has 2.2 million followers on Instagram.
What is Alex Albon's greatest strength as an F1 driver?
Alex Albon has had an up-and-down F1 career, but he has always been successful at using strategy to his advantage, something that he has done very well at both Red Bull and Williams. Tyre management is his greatest asset in that regard, shown at last year’s Australian Grand Prix, with a one-stop strategy giving him a superb points finish. A positive mental attitude has also been key in his return to F1, and that is something that drives him on track as well as off track. Albon is regarded as a great teammate and team member in the Williams garage.