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.

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    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’.

    Alex Albon idolised Michael Schumacher growing up, something that helped inspire his dreams of becoming an F1 driver

    “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.

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    “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.”