This year, British-born Alexander Albon became the first Formula One driver to race under the Thai flag in more than 65 years.

However, the road for the Thai-British driver has been a rocky one. Back in 2012, Albon was signed to the Red Bull Academy Program, though was later cut from the team due to poor results. Despite having little-to-no sponsorship to back him up, he didn’t stop trying. He improved race by race, before finishing second overall in 2016’s GP3, behind Charles Leclerc—who is now a Scuderia Ferrari Formula One driver. 

Following this impressive result, the Thai driver was given a chance to race in Formula Two, the final rung on the ladder before reaching Formula One with the ART team. His struggle continued when he finished 10th overall, resulting in him being dropped by the team. He was then offered a lifeline in the form of a race by race contract with the Dams F2 team.

Albon grabbed this second chance by the horns, winning four races with Dams and finishing third overall in the 2018 season. That was enough for Red Bull to come back around, signing Albon to drive for their sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, in 2019.

He exceeded expectations in the first half of the season, raising eyebrows with his performance in the German Grand Prix, when he finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton, the five-times Formula One World Champion and current championship leader. 

After that, it didn’t take long for the Red Bull Racing F1 team (currently ranked third In the constructors' championship behind Mercedes AMG and Scuderia Ferrari) to promote the Thai driver to the top team half way through his rookie season in an unprecedented move. 

Alex is set to race for Red Bull Racing this Sunday, Sep 1, when he’ll take on the legendary Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the Belgian Grand Prix. Who knows, we might see the Thai flag waving on the podium and hear the Thai national anthem later that day.

Fans of Formula One can get a taste of the action by flying to Singapore on Sep 20-22, when the competition will hit Marina Bay. Citywide festivities start from Sep 13, including pop-ups, precinct (neighborhood) parties and racing simulations. The event also brings with it a huge line-up of big-name artists, from Swedish House Mafia (Sep 20) to Red Hot Chili Peppers (Sep 22). Tickets vary be event, starting at $448 for a three-day grandstand ticket. Check out the website for the full line-up.
By Thanawat Buddhichewin