The first Thai driver to race in Formula One in 65 years, Alex Albon’s rise to the top level of single-seater racing has been a story of triumph over adversity.
Like so many other F1 stars, Alex’s motorsport story begins in karting. Encouraged by his saloon car racer father, Alex was soon winning titles with the Super 1 Honda National Championship in the Cadet and KF3 classes in 2006 and 2009. His finest moment in karts came in 2010, however, when he was crowned European Champion.
Not to mention Alex had the remarkable record of not finishing outside the Top 3 in any championship he competed in from 2006 - 2011.
Alex’s outstanding form in karting brought him to the attention of Red Bull and in 2012 he joined the Junior Programme. He quickly made the jump to single-seaters, taking on a season in the tough Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup and ALPS series.
The campaign was not an easy one, however, and with a challenging first season in cars, he left the Junior Programme at the end of the year.
Alex’s difficult 2012 season might have defeated some, but the youngster is made of stern stuff and over the following two years he battled back to the top of the pecking order in the junior categories, finishing third in the 2014 Eurocup series.
In 2015, he graduated to the FIA F3 European Championship finishing seventh overall in his rookie season against a hugely competitive field including Charles Leclerc and George Russell.
Forever chasing his F1 dream, Alex decided to forego a second season in F3 and made the step up to the F1 feeder series, GP3. It proved the right move and Alex once again proved his talent by finishing as vice champion and runner-up to old rival Leclerc.
Formula 2, the final rung on the ladder to F1, now beckoned and Alex joined ART Grand Prix in 2017 for his debut season. His progress continued and a strong maiden campaign saw him take two podiums and a solid 10th in the drivers’ standings. In 2018, the future looked bleak with sponsorship for a second F2 season proving scarce until the DAMS team threw Alex a lifeline in exchange for a race-by-race deal.
With the pressure on to deliver results and keep his seat, Alex not only accepted the challenge but entered a three-way title fight with George Russell and Lando Norris that went to the wire in Abu Dhabi. Three pole positions, four wins and eight podiums saw the Thai racer just finish short of the title and settle for third place in the championship.
Keen to retain his services, Alex was given the opportunity to remain with the team and tackle Formula E but his strong performances had alerted Red Bull and it was soon confirmed that his mission to reach F1 would be accomplished thanks to a 2019 race seat with Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Alex has prospered since his return to the Red Bull family. After making his debut at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, where he became the first Thai driver to race in F1 since Prince Bira raced at the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix. Alex scored his first F1 points with ninth place at the following round in Bahrain.
Standout showings in China, where he raced to 10th from 20th on the grid after a heavy crash on Saturday, Monaco, where he finished eighth, and Germany where he took a superb sixth place, showed that Alex had adapted to F1 with impressive ease. Alex will now be rewarded for his efforts with a step up to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing alongside Max Verstappen for the remainder of the 2019 season.