Who is Alex Albon?
Get to know Alex Albon
26 Feb 2024
Est Reading Time
4 min
This is your Alex 101; a guide to his racing career and journey to F1.
Born in London on the 23rd March 1996 to a Thai mother and British father, Alexander Albon competes under the Thai flag and has undergone a storied rise to the pinnacle of motorsport.
Albon started racing karts competitively at just 8 years old, winning multiple local, regional and national championships. By his own count he has collected over three hundred trophies across his near two-decade career in racing.
In a 2019 interview with Headliner Magazine, Alex credited his father for his initial entry into the world of racing, stating, “I was seven when he bought me my first go-kart.
"He took me to my first track when I was seven and a half, and that’s how it started. Back then, it was very father and son: my dad was my driving coach, my mechanic.”
Thanks to his continued success in karting, Alex climbed through the categories, eventually finding himself competing for ART Grand Prix in GP3 (now known as Formula 3) alongside Charles Leclerc in 2016. Alex scored four wins and finished second in the championship to Charles, before graduating to Formula 2 with the same team.
After his rookie year in F2, Alex switched to the DAMS garage where his teammate was Nicholas Latifi. That year saw Alex finish third in the drivers championship, a result that won him a contract to race in Formula E for Nissan – however, those plans were knocked off course when Red Bull Racing’s Helmut Marko came calling about a potential seat in Formula 1.
Alex outlined his thought process in opting for F1 over FE in a 2019 interview in The Race Box, saying, “the F1 opportunity... was the kind of offer you have to take and, obviously, I’m very grateful to Nissan and e.dams for allowing me to pursue my dream.
"They both understood what I wanted and respected my passion. People could always say that signing for three years in Formula E was a safer choice than going to Toro Rosso for maybe one season and that’s it.
"But my excuse is simple: this is Formula 1, this is my dream and something I could not deny. And the more you feel that that opportunity is close, the more hungry you are to grab it.”
And so Alex lined up for a rookie season in F1 with Toro Rosso, at the age of 22, and without having previously believed that reaching this level was feasible.
In his 2023 The Players’ Tribune interview Alex recalls “walking through the machine shop [at Torro Ross] and everybody looking at me, eyeing me up and I understood. F1 is big.
"You aren’t just driving for yourself or your family anymore. You’re driving for hundreds of people, hundreds of families.”
His impressive growth didn’t stop there, as his performances across the first twelve races of the 2019 season prompted Red Bull to promote him to their senior team, halfway through the season.
This proved to be a baptism of fire for Alex, who eventually scored 76 points across the remaining 9 races of the season – a result that won him the FIA’s Rookie of the Year award.
Reprising his seat for the COVID-affected 2020 season, Alex continued to improve as a driver in what were often difficult circumstances.
Reflecting back on this time, Alex admits that he was “so naive. I didn’t know what it took to compete for a top team.
"I was 12 races into my Formula 1 career. How was I going to do? How long would it take me to adapt? I just didn’t have the data on myself. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”
In 2021, Alex ended up taking a year off, away from the grid, switching to a development and coaching role for the Red Bull team instead. He also competed for the Italian team AF Corse in DTM, a German touring cars championship.
Many drivers would have assumed that a pivot like that would mark the end of their Formula 1 careers.
Alex himself said that it “was the most difficult moment of my career, and I really had to ask myself some hard questions. I had to think about more than myself as a driver. I had to think about who I wanted to be as a person.
"How many drivers lose their seats and never come back? How many drivers come in for a few seasons and disappear from F1? It’s a cutthroat business, I know that.”
Alex persisted, however, and returned to the sport in 2022 – taking a seat with Williams Racing.
His 27 points in 2023 went a long way to secure the team’s 7th-placed finish in the Constructors Championship – their best result in six years.
With two full seasons under his belt at Williams, Alex has grown into one of the most exciting drivers in the sport.
Alex in full flow, at top speed, with Williams Racing. The future is bright.