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Alex Albon Talks the 2022 F1 Season, Growing the Williams Brand & More

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
F1 driver Alex Albon sits down with Boardroom to reflect on the 2022 season, growing the Williams brand, and what’s next for him and the sport.

Alex Albon had quite the 2022 campaign. After not having a seat in 2021, the 26-year-old has registered four points for Williams heading into the F1 finale in Abu Dhabi, enough to earn him a seat for 2023.

In November last year, Albon flew to Las Vegas for the first time for Formula 1’s launch event leading into next year’s first-ever Grand Prix taking over the strip. He chatted with Boardroom about his season, Williams growing its brand in the US, how his girlfriend is trying to turn him into a Swiftie, and where he wants to see F1 expand next.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Alex Albon
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

SHLOMO SPRUNG: You’re seeing this atmosphere in Vegas about a little more than a year from the first race here. What’s it like being here and taking all this in?

ALEX ALBON: It’s pretty special. I flew in a couple of hours ago. This is my first time in Vegas, actually. But even this.   We’re a year away already and we still have all these crowds already. To see how many people have come out, it’s huge. It’s amazing to see how the sport in America has taken off.

SS: So this is your first time here?

AA: It is, yeah.

SS: What are your initial thoughts? I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about Vegas throughout your life.

AA: I’ve heard a lot about it. I’ve seen a lot of movies about it. I’ve heard you don’t want to spend too much time around here [laughs], but it’s really special. It feels like one of the iconic cities that we go to. And if you think about Formula 1, we go to some amazing places. But to be able to drive through a city with this much historic value, it’s really impactful. It’s pretty special.

SS: What are your favorite Vegas movies?

AA: [Laughs] God, you need to remind me. The obvious one would be The Hangover, of course. We’re staying at Caesars Palace, so we’re getting a taste of it.

SS: How would you evaluate your 2022 season?

AA: So far, it has gone really well. It’s quite a hard one to judge because at the end of the day, as a team we are not quite where we want to be. But if you look at the personal side of things and how I feel I performed this year, it’s gone well. I had a year out from Formula 1 last year, so to come back the way I’ve done, I’m pretty happy with it.

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SS: How do you try to grow Williams’ fan base in the US? You’re going to have the third race in the States now in Vegas.

AA: It’s firstly doing events like this, but a lot of our marketing push has been through America. It’s such a growing opportunity for all Formula 1 teams. Right now, it seems like it’s the most exciting country that everyone seems to be focusing on. I’ve been coming to America quite a lot recently. My girlfriend actually lives in L.A. so I come here more than most people.

SS: That’s not far from here. What’s a night race on a Saturday night going to be like next year? 

AA: I think it’s going to be chaotic. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I haven’t seen Vegas at nighttime yet, so I’m excited to see what it looks like with all the lights on. I’m sure everyone’s going to be having a good time and cheering us on. For us, we’re going to be a bit more focused than everyone else. But yeah, it’s going to be a great place to be. It seems very different to most races that we go to. Normally, I would consider Formula 1 races to be quite serious, at least where we stand from. But there’s a really big emphasis on entertainment around here and I’m really excited about that. 

SS: Obviously Miami had its first race there this year. How do you evaluate a race for the first time that anyone’s driving on that course?

AA: So for us when we evaluate circuits, we are doing most of it behind the scenes. We are doing it three, four months beforehand on a simulator. By the time we’ve come to this circuit in real life, we’ve driven about 500, 600 laps around it. We’re so prepared once we arrive that it almost feels like a seamless integration from the simulator to the real world. So, that’s pretty straightforward. 

SS: What surprised you the most about the popularity of F1 in the States? 

AA: It feels like when American fans are behind something, they truly are. They go all in. Everyone has merchandise. You see everyone in the grandstands queuing up for days. All the races so far this year in America have been sold out and they’ve been the biggest turnouts of the year. So I expect more or less of that for Vegas next year. 

SS: Let’s get to some rapid-fire questions. What’s your favorite track on the F1 schedule and why?

AA: Suzuka. It’s high speed and it takes a lot of balls.

SS: What’s your least favorite track and why?

AA: Monza because it’s long and boring.

SS: If you were in charge of F1 for a day, what’s the first thing you’d change?

AA: I would change the drivers’ salaries [laughs].

SS: Who’s the greatest F1 driver of all time?

AA: I’d actually say Max Verstappen.

SS: Who’s your favorite athlete to watch in another sport?

AA: Valentino Rossi.

SS: What’s your favorite car to drive in real life?

AA: Porsche GT3 RS.

SS: Do you drive the speed limit when you’re out on the street?

AA: No, I drive faster than the speed limit.

SS: Is it tough to slow down?

AA: It is, yes. But you learn how to watch out for cameras and that kind of thing [laughs].

SS: What’s the most expensive thing you ever bought?

AA: My car. My Porsche GT3 RS. The car that I love.

SS: What’s the dumbest purchase you’ve ever made?

AA: Private jet plane tickets. They were way too expensive.

SS: If you had 24 hours to live, how would you spend it?

AA: With my family.

SS: What song hypes you up the most before a big race?

AA: Robbie Williams’ “Angels.”

SS: What’s your favorite song that’s come out this year?

AA: I can’t remember, but my girlfriend’s been giving me a ton of Taylor Swift’s album and I’ve been listening to that non-stop. That’s all that gets played in the car. 

SS: What’s your favorite song of hers on the album?

AA: Oh, I don’t know. My girlfriend would just tell me the lyrics and explain to me the whole story behind them. I’m just like “great, fantastic.” But I don’t even know the names of the songs.

SS: What’s the first car you’ve ever had?

AA: A Renault Clio, stick. In Europe we drive stick.

SS: How would you describe F1 to a child?

AA: The cars go fast.

SS: Where would you like to see an F1 race happen that hasn’t had a race yet?

AA: My home country of Thailand.

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.