February 22, 2024

Don’t You Know Me? F1 Driver Alex Albon Finds Unexpected Anonymity in U.S. Visit


Williams Formula 1 team driver Alex Albon has had some trouble getting to the front of the dinner reservation lists while in New York for this week’s launch of the team’s 2024 car.

Snagging a reservation to some of the city’s hottest, more exclusive restaurants is hard enough for us non-celebrities and business movers and shakers, but Albon found out that the host stand doesn’t budge under the pressure of an F1 namedrop, either.

“We’ve been to a lot of restaurants, and I didn’t realize you had to pre-book everywhere you go. So we’re having to queue (line up) outside of restaurants everywhere,” the 27-year-old Albon said. “I have a PA (personal assistant), and I’m like, ‘did you namedrop?’ And they’re just like, ‘they do nothing.’ “

Even worse, the cold temperatures haven’t been treating the Londoner who is also a citizen of Thailand kindly. It’s been a generally mild winter, but New Yorkers are no strangers to standing on (yes, on) line, especially for proper food. But being dressed properly is a major piece of the puzzle, a lesson that Albon learned the hard way.

“The first night, I had to leave the queue, go buy a jacket and gloves, and then come back,” Albon said.

We aren’t sure which restaurants Albon has been visiting, but we’d be happy to recommend a few world-class joints without such a long line. We’ll just have to meet in Queens.

“I love coming to America,” Albon told us during the media event.

Born in London, that’s quite the compliment from the Williams Racing driver, but it’s not entirely surprising considering how much time F1 drivers have been spending in the U.S. with race weeks now in Miami, Austin and Las Vegas.

With three races in the U.S. last year and a continuing trend of press launches here in the States, the historically European motorsport has surged in popularity domestically. That isn’t news at this point, as the Netflix series Drive to Survive is in its fifth season has make the sport more dinner table discussion than ever.

But not all the drivers are reaping the benefits of this newfound fandom in the United States.

Just ask Alex Albon.

Headshot of Emmet White

A New York transplant hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Emmet White has a passion for anything that goes: cars, bicycles, planes, and motorcycles. After learning to ride at 17, Emmet worked in the motorcycle industry before joining Autoweek in 2022. The woes of alternate side parking have kept his fleet moderate, with a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta GLI and a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750 street parked in his South Brooklyn community.



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