Alexander Albon says signing a long-term contract to race for Williams Racing was one of the ‘best feelings’, particularly after the uncertainty from the previous two years of his FIA Formula 1 World Championship career.
Albon was left without a race seat after a relatively underwhelming 2020 season with Red Bull Racing, with 2021 seeing him drop down to a reserve driver role as well as competing sparingly in the DTM Series.
But he made his competitive return to Formula 1 in 2022 with Williams, with the Thai driver quickly signing an additional multi-year contract to give him some much needed long-time security within the sport.
“I guess the last two years, one of those years was very stressful, and the other one being nervous, and I guess I was gearing up for the year and didn’t know what to expect,” said Albon to Motorsport.com.
“I’ve signed a contract which is maybe one of the best feelings, long term. It’s a privilege in Formula 1, if I’m honest. I’m feeling very good, feeling proud, just proud of how things have turned out.
“It’s been a bit of an up-and-down rollercoaster in Formula 1 for me, and it’s nice that I feel like I’m building now. I’m excited to be working with the team into the new year, focused on car development and what you’d consider the normal things, not worrying about having a drive.”
Albon acknowledged that he was nervous about his return after a year away, and he knew he would be a little rusty early on, particularly in the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, in just his third race back he was scoring a point in Australia, and he added two more top ten finishes in 2022 in Miami and Belgium, and ultimately, he was thankful for the second opportunity.
“It’s hard, because it’s nerves, it’s excitement, but it’s also that kind of stress of, ‘OK, how is it going to go? We’ve had a year away now,'” said Albon. “You are going to be a little bit rusty. It’s not a normal sport where you can practice in your back garden, you’ve got to keep driving.
“At the same time, I guess it’s a bit of a second chance, so you know that you have to deliver. Not many people get second chances, and I was fortunate enough to get one. The build-up was pretty good, spending time in the factory and the team, things like that.
“But as soon as you drive, that’s obviously when you feel the most comfortable, actually. It’s what you’re born to do. Once you get into the car, everything feels fine. It’s just that build up, that’s what gets your heart going.”