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Albon: Taking a year off helped my F1 career

Albon raced in DTM during his time away from F1 in 2021

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Alex Albon’s 1 year hiatus from F1 in 2021, he believes, has improved him mentally as a driver.

Albon is on a multi-year contract deal with Williams (Image Credit:

The 2021 season of F1 for Albon saw him rack up 105 points with Red Bull. However, he wasn’t matching his then teammate, Max Verstappen, who had 214 points. The difference in performance between both drivers resulted in Red Bull letting go of the 26-year-old.

In hindsight, the Thai driver says it was his inexperience that was his main lacking point on track. He explained at the 2023 Williams livery launch that it was through the one year away from F1 that he was able to see the bigger picture. The time off allowed him to analyze everything on his own time and progress to become better; both technically and mentally.

“I would say the year away, it was a chance to get some head space away from the world of F1.” 

“And when you’re in a situation where you’re having a tough year and week-in and week-out it’s relentless, you’re not really getting a break from [the media], not getting a break from just the performance side of things.”

“More than anything, the most frustrating thing is [as a team] we’re competitive, we’re not doing as well as we know we should be, or that things aren’t connecting [at my end].

Takeaways of a year off from F1

Stepping away from something that has been a part of your life since childhood is not easy. Albon admitted that given the choice, he would not have left for a year. But, ultimately it was the best circumstance for him because he was able to come back stronger as a driver.

“A year away can really give you that head space to try to analyse and self-reflect on why did it not work. But also already by my first couple of months [out of F1] it was like ‘okay, what areas do I need to improve on and how?’. And then just trying to make use of my time.”

“It’s not like I would choose a year away if I had to, it’s not my choice, let’s say that. But I felt like when I did come back, I was more sure of myself, more confident in my ability than how I started before.

“And it felt like clearly there was a lot of motivation [during the year out] and feeling like I wanted to prove myself, but it was surprising how, despite having a year away from the sport, I still felt very connected and almost I knew that as soon as I would come back, there would be no real time to get back into [the F1 mindset].

“It sounds strange but I felt like a better driver over the break and [when I] started my year back it was just improving things where all the groundwork was that I did, and I was better for it.”

Headline Image Credit: F1 Official Website

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