The London-born Thai driver mentions his family often – the mum who would soothe him as an infant with re-runs of Schumacher championship reviews and the dad who introduced him to the sport.
“My Dad dabbled in Touring cars, he was in the British Touring Cars for a bit and then he moved over to Asia to race a little bit as well, so he was a bit of a, let’s say, Jack of all trades,” he explains.
“I was 7-years-old when he bought me my first kart. It’s quite funny, because it was actually a Honda-powered four-stroke, so I’ve kind of gone full circle with my motorsport career.
“We lived in the countryside and he would put bricks in a field next door to us and I’d just do a figure of eight – that was really how I started, and from there I moved to a track when I was eight years old.”
But Formula 1 has always been the ultimate goal, and so when the opportunity arose to join the Toro Rosso team for 2019, Albon jumped at it, achieving the status of the second ever Thai driver in Formula 1, after Prince Bira in the 1950s. How does that feel, I asked?
“It’s very cool,” he announced humbly. “I was in Thailand recently and it kind of hit me then how there was a public freak out. It was so weird to me, but it meant a lot to see the incredible support that I do have there. It’s nice to represent my home country, I’m really proud.”
“I’ve wanted to be a Formula 1 driver since when I was 6 years old,” he explained. “One of my first words was ‘Rarri – short for Ferrari – and then I moved on to an obsession with Ferrari. Everything had to be red; I had a red bed, red carpet, red walls and had to wear a red T-shirt. And obviously being a fan of Ferrari, I was a fan of Schumacher, because he was my generation’s hero, and if I didn’t eat my vegetables, my mum would say Michael Schumacher eats his vegetables…”