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Who is new Torro Rosso driver Alexander Albon?

Andrew Smyth
CONTRIBUTOR
News
178   //    27 Nov 2018, 01:09 IST

Formula 2 Russia - Feature Race
Formula 2 Russia - Feature Race

Toro Rosso-Honda have announced Alexander Albon as their second driver for F1 2019 alongside Daniil Kvyat - so who is he?

Albon is a London-born Thai driver who was introduced into motorsport at six years old by his father, Nigel Albon - a former BTCC and Porsche Carrera Cup driver.

At six, Albon was karting over a race track laid out by his father with bricks before he made the jump to karting two years later.

After a successful karting career, Red Bull signed up a 16-year-old Albon to their Junior Programme in 2012 and he graduated to Formula Renault 2.0. However, after a low-key start to his single-seater career, the Red Bull chiefs released the teenager - who was left to make his own way up the ladder to F1.

Two more seasons followed in Formula Renault 2.0 before Albon moved up to Formula 3, where an impressive debut season led ART to partner him with future Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in GP3 for 2016.

The Thai made a strong impression that year with his four race wins and three positions securing him second place in the driver's table and only 25 points behind winner Leclerc.

Albon graduated to F2 in 2017 and impressed in his second season which saw him go into the final round with a chance to win the title. Ultimately, the Williams-bound George Russell won the 2018 F2 crown with McLaren-bound Lando Norris and Albon completing the top three.

The 22-year-old had been set to race in Formula E next season with Nissan following his exploits this year. Instead, though, Red Bull’s insufficient number of youngsters on their books has led Albon to get a second chance by replacing Brendon Hartley.

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Red Bull motorsport director Helmut Marko decided the Kiwi hadn’t done enough in his debut full season to be a candidate for the senior team and dropped him.

Therefore, Albon gets the nod and will become the first Thai driver to race in F1 since Prince Bira in 1955.

The only seat remaining for the 2019 season is at Force India - where Lance Stroll is widely expected to partner Sergio Perez due to his father recently becoming a part-owner of the team.

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Andrew Smyth
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