British-born Alex Albon is gearing up for his second season as a Formula One driver.
The 23-year-old, who races under the Thai flag due to his mother’s nationality, was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull just 12 races into his rookie campaign.
Ahead of his first full year alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull, Albon took part in a quick-fire Q&A with the PA news agency.
The race you are most looking forward to?
Vietnam. It is new, exciting, and given its location, it is another home grand prix for me. I am preparing for it by racing the circuit in the simulator and it is quite bonkers. It is not a normal track, it is technical, and there are a lot of blind corners. It should be a lot of fun.
The race you are least looking forward to?
I am not the biggest fan of Monza because the track does not suit my driving style.
Who is your best mate in F1?
(Williams driver) George Russell. We first met in 2007 and I have known him throughout my racing career. We climbed the ladder together, in Formula Three, Formula Renault, Formula Two and we started F1 at the same time, too.
A post shared by George Russell (@georgerussell63) on Jan 22, 2020 at 7:40am PST
Your favourite TV show?
I have been re-watching Sherlock, and I love Peaky Blinders, too. I haven’t watched Formula 1: Drive to Survive on Netflix, yet, and I don’t think I will. I am in the new series but I don’t like watching myself on TV.
Your first motor racing memory?
When I was six my dad took me to my first race at Silverstone, the 2002 British Grand Prix. I wanted to watch Michael Schumacher as he was my hero. I also won a competition. You had to guess who would finish in the top three. I put Michael down to win, Rubens Barrichello to finish second and Juan Pablo Montoya third. I was the only one to get it right, and I was presented with the prize – a hat and poster signed by Michael, Rubens, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt – in front of thousands of people. I still have it somewhere.
Your racing hero?
Michael Schumacher. He was the dominant figure of my childhood. He took the sport to the next level with his application, training, and the way he got the team on his side. He was a perfectionist and I admired that as a kid.
What car do you own?
I don’t own any cars as I now get given them. I have an Aston Martin DB11 and a Honda Civic Type R. I have never bought a car. Before getting to Formula One I had my dad’s 2010 Mini Cooper. It is a good run-around.
Your dream car?
I have always wanted to buy a classic Mini, and reinvent it. I don’t want it to look tuned, but classic and personalised. It will be a father-and-son project. My dad can do most of it as he is quite handy. I will just make the tea.
An honour to be named the @fia.official 2019 Rookie of the Year 😬 It’s been a pretty surreal season for me and I can’t thank everyone who’s helped me to get here enough. There are areas I know I need to improve, so let’s make 2020 even better! 👊🏼
A post shared by Alex Albon (@alex_albon) on Dec 6, 2019 at 11:48pm PST
Is there more pressure on you this season?
I am ignoring that side of it and controlling what I can do and what I need to work on. Of course, there are different expectations at it is my second year, and I have now been to most of the tracks. But there is still a sense of getting up to speed with the team. It is only six months ago that I signed for Red Bull. Every week I have been in the car, it has been getting better and better, and this season is a continuation of that.
How has life been away from the family home in Milton Keynes?
I rent a place in Monaco. David Coulthard is a neighbour, and sort of my landlord. He has told me the places to go to and the places to avoid. But I actually spend as much time back home in Milton Keynes as I do in Monaco because the Red Bull factory is nearby. My mum misses me, too.