Thai-British driver Alexander Albon and Williams Racing have agreed on a multi-year contract extension from 2023 onwards, both parties confirmed on Wednesday.
London-born Alexander Albon joined the British team ahead of the 2022 season, partnering with Canadian racer Nicholas Latifi, whose contract ends by the end of this season.
Following the announcement, the 26-year-old commits his future to a team, working to be back at the days when seeing a Williams challenger in the front row on a Sunday’s race grid was not a surprise.
“It’s really exciting to be staying with Williams Racing for 2023,” Albon said. “The team is pushing hard to progress, and I am really motivated to continue this journey and further develop our learnings together.”
Thus far into the season, he has standout with his driving style, scoring all the team’s points after 13 of a 22-round season.
“Alex is a tremendous driver and valued member of Williams Racing, so were thrilled to be able to confirm we will be working with him on a long-term basis,” commented CEO & Team Principal Jost Capito.
Adding: “Alex brings a great blend of skill and insightful learnings that will help bring the team greater success in the future.”
“He’s a fierce competitor, has proved a popular and loyal team member, and we are delighted that he will provide a stable base for us to continue to develop in this new F1 car era.”
As of today, he remains the first driver to secure a podium finish (Red Bull Racing) in Formula One under the Thai flag.
THE PATH TO FORMULA 1
The young talent became a Red Bull Junior in 2012, competing at the Formula Renault 2.0, working his way up to the top through the years.
In 2016, he reached the GP3 Series (Formula 3 Championship) as part of the ART team. A series of solid performances led him to finish the season runner-up to teammate Charles Leclerc, having clinched four victories while stepping into the podium on seven occasions.
Racing wheel to wheel in Formula 2 (Formula One feeder series) with Mercedes’ George Russell and McLaren’s Lando Norris, Albon spent two competitive years in the series before moving to Formula One in 2019.
As a member of the Red Bull Racing family, his first season at the pinnacle of motorsport saw him behind the wheel of the STR14 Scuderia Toro Rosso - sister squad to the Milton Keynes-based team, alongside new teammate Daniil Kvyat.
Twelve rounds later, he got promoted to team up with the young star and reigning champion Max Verstappen.
However, after two seasons of racing for the main squad, he lost his seat to the experienced Sergio Perez, demoted to the role of reserve and test driver.
In 2021, out of the F1 grid, he searched for other racing challenges and succeeded. He became the first Thai driver to win a race in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), the German touring car championship, in his debut at Nurburgring.
On board a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, he contested 14 of the 16 rounds of the season, finishing 6th in the overall standings.
Albon never lost hope of coming back to the FIA Formula One World Championship, and after a year away, the wait was over.
When the opportunity of the Thai driving for the team at Grove presented itself ahead of the 2022 season, Red Bull Racing agreed on the move, making clear through Team Principal Christian Horner that the driver “retains a link to Red Bull.”
Albon is back, racing at the wheel of the Williams FW44, powered by Mercedes, doing what he loves and now setting a long-term path with the British squad.
Furthermore, the driver wrote on his Twitter account: “I understand that, with my agreement, Williams Racing has put out a press release this afternoon that I am driving for them next year.
“This is right, and I have signed a contract with Williams for 2023. I will be driving for Williams next year. Let’s gooo!”
The tweet refers, with humor, to the controversial episode between Alpine F1 and driver Oscar Piastri.