Is Alex Albon British? The shameful erasure of his heritage

Albon was born in London but races under a Thai flag in Formula 1


Is Alex Albon British? Despite being born in London, in the heart of the United Kingdom, the Formula 1 racer is regularly left out of ‘British’ media posts and conversations, so why is the 28-year-old’s heritage overlooked?

As mentioned, Albon was born in London in 1996 to Nigel Albon, a former racing driver, and he grew up just outside of the capital in Bures, Suffolk. If you listened to him talk you wouldn’t think he’s anything other than British.

But he has a mother from Thailand, races under a Thai license and for some reason, this seems to be enough to exclude him from being ranked in the British drivers on the grid despite the inclusion of Oliver Bearman in the discussion already.

As a result of that, despite being born just two hours away from the home of the 2024 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, he sadly doesn’t view it as his ‘home’ GP like Lewis Hamilton or Lando Norris do, electing to consider it as important as the Singapore GP in Asia.

“I would call it a second home race,” Albon said to in 2022. “It’s as much of a home race as Singapore is. But I have a close connection with the UK and with Silverstone.

“I live 25 minutes away from Silverstone, at least my family do. Strangely enough, I haven’t actually driven that many times around Silverstone. But I live close by.” 

The seeming erasure of his birth-right of Alex Albon within British culture is something that bothers him and he’s spoken about it in the past by suggesting there is a racially-driven bias against him as he believes he’s only seen as ‘British’ when he succeeds.

“Well it depends,” Albon said, on if he feels accepted as British. “Either, I’m called the London-born Thai if I do a good job, or I’m not British at all if I do a bad job!”

Albon added, “I still consider myself as Thai, truthfully.”

Alex Albon in the Imola paddock at the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP | Williams F1 Team

Albon’s British identity erasure rife with hypocrisy

Albon‘s half-Thai legacy meaning he shouldn’t be included in promotional work for the Grand Prix is laughable at best. You only have to look to other British drivers on the grid to glance at the diverse heritage of the United Kingdom to be something to celebrate.

Lando Norris, for example, is half-Belgian through his mother but is just as British as Albon is and likewise, Lewis Hamilton has heritage from Grenada in the Caribbean which is something he’s celebrated on his own crash helmets.

But because they choose to race under a British license it means they should be viewed as ‘more British’ than Albon, despite the trio all being born and raised in the same culture and same part of the world?

Of course, you only have to look over to the world champion, Max Verstappen, of who it is seemingly perfectly okay to credit the Belgian GP to as a ‘home race’, despite him picking to race under the Dutch license, considering himself “more Dutch” than Belgian…

Fans lash out at F1 bias

The conversation about Alex Albon’s British identity has been around for some time and his comments only add to the tragedy that despite being raised in the UK, he doesn’t feel as though it’s his ‘true’ home as much as the other Brits on the grid do.

So, when Silverstone included Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell on artwork promoting the 2024 British GP, featuring their race suits, cars and the British flags, but left Albon out, social media finally hit back in his defence.

A big F1 social media personality, @TwommoF1, with over 131,000 followers posted to, formerly Twitter, “FAO @SilverstoneUK. Alex is clearly proud of his heritage, but he’s no less British than any of these 3.”

Fans in the comments concurred as one user wrote, “Thank you!!!! I always class Alex as a British driver. I know he doesn’t drive under the British flag but he deserves to be on all the posters and advertising at Silverstone.”

A second added, “Peoples argument of but actually he races under the Thai flag but his dad is British he is born British at least acknowledge his existence as a brit there’s literally no harm he already doesn’t have a home gp this is his home gp for the foreseeable future.”

And a third wrote, “Shouldn’t even be a discussion imo, he races under the Thai flag – Zhou grew up in Sheffield, but he races under the Chinese flag it’s very pointless discourse.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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