Alex Albon: From the intensive care unit to the start of the Singapore Grand Prix


Formula 1 drivers are known for pushing their bodies and minds to the limit.

While maintaining their concentration during a race, they endure tremendous G-forces, speeds of around 300 km/h and the loss of several kilograms of body mass due to dehydration.

Just three weeks after surviving a stay in intensive care, Williams driver Alex Albon will be pushing those limits this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix – the most difficult race on the calendar.

During last month’s Italian Grand Prix weekend, Albon contracted appendicitis and was taken to hospital for surgery.

But he suffered complications after the operation that led to respiratory failure and he was transferred to the intensive care unit on mechanical ventilation, his team later said.

“I was in touch with his family on Saturday night,” fellow driver George Russell told the BBC earlier this week, “because it looked very scary at one point.”

And so the 26-year-old woke up in hospital this Sunday afternoon instead of racing at the famous Monza circuit.

“I woke up pretty much exactly 30 minutes before the start of the race,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “It was frustrating to watch and heart rate went up a bit. They kept an eye on me and told me they had to turn it off.”

After recovering in hospital for another two days, Albon was discharged and returned home.

“The doctors did a great job. I am very grateful that they got me in good health and out of the hospital on Tuesday. Since then I’ve been in Monaco and started walking around,” he said in a video posted to his Instagram account.

Since then, Albon has focused on the Singapore Grand Prix, documenting his preparation on social media with videos from a cryotherapy chamber and gym.

“It’s quite difficult because you’re basically waiting for your lungs to recover. And at the same time, your body can’t move as well as it used to,” he said, per Sky Sports.

“You can’t just jump back into normal training, you have to build it up slowly. We really put our foot down last Monday. I treated training and recovery like a 9-to-5 job.

“It got better every day. To be honest we didn’t think Singapore was a possibility but with the speed of recovery it definitely became possible.

“I feel ready and I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could race.”

Albon last drove at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in 2019, when Singapore last hosted a Grand Prix, and finished sixth for Red Bull.

During his first appearances in the Williams car on this track, Albon finished P16 in both free practice sessions 1 and 2 and qualified for Sunday’s race in P19.

Albon drives during practice ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

“It’s good to get back in the car,” he told his team on Friday. “Obviously it’s hot out there but I’m fine… I wouldn’t say it’s a no-brainer, I’d be lying, but everyone’s struggling out there.

“But we lost the pace a bit. We expected the car to not really suit this place this weekend. But the most important things to take away today: I feel okay and the car feels okay.”