Thailand Gets 1st F1 Driver Since 1950s

Published on 2nd December 2018 by Stickboy BKK

Thailand Gets 1st F1 Driver Since 1950s

You likely won’t see a Formula 1 race in Thailand in your lifetime, but the kingdom can take satisfaction from news that a Thai driver has been promoted to the circuit for the first time since the 1950s.

British-born Alexander Albon, 22, is racing under the Thai flag with Red Bull’s junior team, Toro Rosso. It’s an opportunity he thought he lost in 2012 when he was dropped Red Bull’s driver programme. But he’s made the most of his second chance.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to know that I’m in Formula 1 next year,” Albon told the media recently.

Thailand Gets 1st F1 Driver Since 1950s

Albon is the first Thai F1 driver since Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh – better known as Prince Bira, for whom the Pattaya circuit is named. The godson of King Mongkut, the Prince competed in F1 and Grand Prix races for the Maserati, Gordini, and Connaught, and was an Olympic sailor in four Summer Games and a glider pilot. He died in the U.K. in 1985 at age 71.

“I’ve always been motorsport mad and since I first got in a car it’s been my dream to be in F1. To be given this opportunity is just incredible,” Albon said.

Toro Rosso principal Franz Tost said Albon is ready to be an F1 pro. He impressed in Formula 2 this year, winning four races and third in the Championship.

“The way he is able to overtake many of his rivals in the races shows that he is ready and matured to race in Formula 1,” Tost said.

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