2019 Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda Formula 1 driver Alexander Albon opens up about ‘begging’ for a FIA Formula 2 seat with DAMS in 2018.
The Thai-Anglo driver spent the 2018 season in F2 with the French team, originally on a race-by-race contract with the team due to the lack of funding Albon had for the season.
But after the third round in Spain, Albon was handed a full-time deal to compete the whole season with DAMS, after producing a strong opener to the F2 season.
Albon’s performance throughout the season saw him become a contender for the F2 title, but lost out to George Russell at the final round in Abu Dhabi. DAMS were impressed with Albon’s results that they offered him a deal to race with their FIA Formula E team, Nissan e.DAMS. But the deal was cut short before the 2018/19 season started as he joined Toro Rosso to replace Brendon Hartley for 2019.
Albon recalls the events back in January and told Autosport.com that he begged DAMS’ team manager Francois Sicard to join their F2 team for the 2018 season.
“I remember in January or February, on the phone to Francois literally begging to have the seat for this year and I didn’t have the money for it, and he put me in it anyway,” said Albon.
“From then on it was always about proving a point and staying in the championship. It’s been a big rollercoaster. To end with third, bit disappointed as I think we deserved to finish second.
“I’m happy with this year, it’s all down to DAMS.”
The London-Born driver spent 2017 in F2 with the ART Grand Prix team but couldn’t replicate his 2016 season with the team in the GP3 Series, losing out on the title to Charles Leclerc at the final round.
“I believe GP3 was my true pace, F2 last year for different reasons things didn’t go as planned. This year was a continuation of 2016.”
In 2018, Albon won four races throughout the season to finish third overall behind Russell and Lando Norris. Albon achieved three consecutive pole positions at Azerbaijan, Spain and Monaco, saying that achieving those poles were ‘really cool’.
“The three poles in a row were really cool for me,” Albon commented.
“It stood out to me, raw pace-wise we were really strong. It faded out a bit towards the end of the year.
“The first feature race win in F2 was another highlight, in Baku. It wasn’t a normal win but to come out in front was mega.”