Alex Albon: The Journey So Far

Published on
15 May 2024
Est. reading time
4 Min

49 starts for Williams Racing down, plenty more to come…

It’s the 9th of September 2021 and you’ve just heard the breaking Formula 1 news: Alex Albon is back, and he’s heading to Williams Racing.
Fast forward a few months and it’s time for the Thai racer’s first day at Grove, time for a fresh start. Our No23 was straight down to work, putting his first miles behind the wheel of our FW44, albeit virtually via the simulator.
2022 was a new era for F1, with dramatic regulation changes leading to the return of ground effect cars for the first time since 1982. Unfortunately, we found ourselves fighting towards the back of the field, but this did not deter Alex and by round three, he was on the board.
F1’s much-anticipated return to Australia saw Alex depart with his first Williams point, and our first of the campaign - however, even he wouldn’t have expected that after being disqualified from Qualifying for being unable to provide the FIA with a sufficient fuel sample.
Lining up P20 in Melbourne is a daunting prospect, but a bold strategy call matched with some superb mastery behind the wheel saw Alex run on the same set of hard tyres for 57 of the 58 laps, pitting at the start of the final tour for his mandatory stop before crossing the line in P10. Cue pandemonium in the garage.
Celebrations between Alex Albon and Patrick Harding after the 2022 Australian GP
Celebrations with Patrick after the 2022 Australian GP
But this was just the start, the first of 11 points finishes across both Grands Prix and Sprint events so far.
Alex had arrived in Melbourne with a tinge of red in his hair, given to him by two children at the Wat Sakraeo Orphanage in Thailand. With a point down under backed up with a valiant P11 in Imola, it was a sign. The hair had to stay.
Miami was next and with his hair professionally styled bright red, more points came his way. A P10 finish at the flag was elevated to P9 after post-race penalties.
His third and final points finish of an impressive first season back in Formula 1 came at the formidable Spa Francorchamps, making his FW44 as wide as possible to hold on to P10 at the line.
There was to be a further twist in his debut Williams Racing campaign when a bout of appendicitis in Monza led to further medical complications.
With the gruelling Singapore Grand Prix just three weeks away, it would have been simple to set an easier return date, but this is Alex Albon.
He locked himself away with his Performance Coach, Patrick Harding, to get race ready for Marina Bay and to the surprise of the paddock, he took to the grid.
2023 brought a new teammate and a new boss, but the Alex behind the wheel was as fiercely competitive as possible.
The FW45 was a step forward from its predecessor, and our No23 took it to its first points finish at the very opening round, with a P10 in Bahrain potentially flattering the performance of that machine at that stage in time.
It took until Canada when we returned to the top 10 once again, a gamble from the team to put all our energy into maximising the package, including upgrades, for Montreal.
After lining up P9 on the grid, Alex was able to defend resolutely for the vast majority of the race to secure his best finish for the team, P7 at the flag – in the words of his Team Principal, it was “the drive of a champion.”
Scenes in the Williams Racing garage after the 2023 Canadian GP
Scenes in the garage after the 2023 Canadian GP.
A P8 would follow two rounds later at Silverstone before returning from the summer shutdown to equal his best-ever Qualifying result when he locked in P4 at Zandvoort, converting it to another P8 result.
This kickstarted a run of seven races where he found himself consistently in the fight for points, all except Japan.
A P7 in Italy preceded a P11 in Singapore, where he was on for a rare Williams points finish at Marina Bay before being turned around late on.
Qatar delivered a first Sprint points finish for the team, rising ten places from his starting spot on the grid to claim seventh once again.
Successive P9s in Austin and Mexico City took him to 27 points for the year, putting him P13 in the Drivers’ Championship and helping the team to our best Constructors’ Championship result since 2017.
Points have been hard to come by so far in 2024, with a pair of P11s and one P12 being the closest Albono has come in the opening six rounds as we continue to get to grips with the steps forward the FW46 has made.
But, as James Vowles has said time and again, it’s not about 2024 or 2025, it’s about 2026 and beyond, and we’re thrilled to have Alex with us as we continue that journey together. The best is yet to come.
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