'I'd throw a tantrum if he didn't win!' – Albon explains how Michael Schumacher inspired his F1 journey
Alex Albon has explained how Michael Schumacher helped to inspire his F1 journey, with the Williams racer admitting he would throw tantrums as a child if the seven-time world champion didn’t win a race.
Albon has earned plenty of plaudits himself for his outstanding 2023 season, regularly maximising what was capable in his car as he continues to grow as a Formula 1 racer. The campaign marked the 27-year-old’s fourth full season in the sport, having previously been part of the Red Bull set-up before landing at Williams for 2022. But his original love of the sport was centred around Ferrari – and Schumacher in particular.
Speaking to the High Performance Podcast, Albon admitted that he was a true racing fanatic growing up – something that helped sow the seeds of wanting to become a racing driver – and a variation of Ferrari was among his first words.
“I was an obsessed kid when I was growing up,” Albon explained as he delved into his childhood. “One of my first words was ‘Ferrari’, which I would call ‘Rari’.
“It was Ferrari and then exhausts – I loved seeing four tailpipes – which were ‘smokes’. So I always used to shout out ‘smokes’ or ‘Rari’.
“In terms of a car feeling, I was a massive Michael Schumacher fan. I used to throw the biggest tantrums as a kid if Michael didn’t win.
“My mum used to have a VHS of a 2001 Formula 1 highlights review, and I knew all the races that he won that year, so as soon as I had an off – or a bad day or whatever – that was straight in, playing Michael wins.
“It was early on. I always wanted to be a racing driver and my dad used to race. I’d call him semi-professional, I think he’d like that! But he was good, he was genuinely good at his job.”
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While Schumacher – a world champion in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 – was undoubtedly Albon’s F1 idol, the Thai racer did continue to single out his dad Nigel – a former British Touring Car racer – as an additional inspiration.
“Not so much,” Albon said, when asked if he would get to watch his dad race as a child. “I kind of got into racing as he stopped, so there was a cross over there.
“But he was the one – he was my engineer, my mechanic, my driver coach – that was very much a father/son thing.”