‘Lucky’ Albon had no knowledge of surgery complications

Williams F1 driver Alex Albon has provided a detailed account of his recovery after missing the Italian Grand Prix because of appendicitis. 
Alexander Albon (THA) Williams
Alexander Albon (THA) Williams

The 26-year-old Thai suffered respiratory failure due to post-operative anaesthetic complications following a routine and successful laparoscopic surgery and had to spend half a day sedated in intensive care. 

Albon was released from hospital a few days later to continue his recovery back home at Monaco and has battled to be fit in time to return to his car for this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix

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Speaking to media on Thursday, Albon revealed he has little memory of the episode because he was “quite drugged up”. 

“Luckily I was quite drugged up, so I don't remember much of it,” Albon explained. "I just remember going into surgery. 

“It’s a relatively simple procedure, I think it only takes a couple of hours to be operated on. Obviously, you don't understand time when you are sedated. It was more the impact of the people around me. 

“When I did wake up, I thought the procedure was finished and they said ‘actually, you’ve gone through a little bit more than that’. 

“I think in the end I was supposed to be in an induced sedation for two or three days, but in the end my lungs cleared out within 12 hours. So I was already up shortly afterwards. 

“It wasn’t such a big thing for me, it was more my family coming to the race, they were obviously in a little bit of shock. That was about it.”

(L to R): Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing with Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17,
(L to R): Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing with Lando Norris (GBR)…

Albon described being forced to miss one race as “not a big deal” compared to other setbacks he has faced in his career. 

“I’ve been very lucky, I’ve had very good doctors around me, who were in Italy to get me back into a good place,” he added. 

“I feel very fortunate. And I only missed out on a race. It’s not a big deal.”

Frustrations watching the race 

With Albon admitted to hospital on Saturday morning at Monza, responsibility fell on reserve driver Nyck de Vries to act as a last-minute stand-in. 

De Vries turned in a strong qualifying performance and went on to score points in ninth place as he enjoyed a dream F1 debut. 

After waking up from his induced coma earlier than anticipated, Albon was able to watch the start of the race from his hospital bed. 

But he was advised to turn off the TV on doctors orders due to a spike in heart rate caused by the frustration of not being able to capitalise on Williams’ competitiveness. 

Nyck de Vries (NLD) Williams Racing FW44 Reserve Driver. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Italian Grand Prix, Monza,
Nyck de Vries (NLD) Williams Racing FW44 Reserve Driver. Formula 1 World…

“I woke up pretty much 30 minutes before the start of the race. So I could watch it – but it was frustrating to watch,” he said. 

“The heart rate went up a little bit. They were keeping an eye on me, they told me I had to switch it off at some point.

“But, you know, it’s only because we had such a good car, on Friday at least. When I woke up on Saturday and there was kind of that decision, should you risk it or not, in terms of driving, but we did the right thing.

“And Nyck did a really good job obviously. We knew that Monza was going to be a good one, but he brought home some points, which obviously in the bigger scale of things it’s very good for the team."

Preparations for Singapore 'like a 9-5 job'

Albon provided a detailed rundown of his recovery programme, which began with “bed recovery” before he was in a position to treat training like a “nine-to-five job”. 

Preparations included karting and Albon said he feels as “ready and as fit as I can be” and has “no pain”, even if he admitted that Singapore seemed like an ambitious target for his comeback. 

“It was more bed recovery to begin with,” Albon explained. “It's quite a tricky one because you're basically waiting for your lungs to recover, so you can't jump back into normal training. You have to slowly build into it. 

“It was kind of starting Monday last week where we really started to push it and see what we could do. We treated it like a nine to five job, training and recovery. 

“Basically, throwing everything [at it] and day by day was getting better and better. Then obviously, we got to a point where the recovery was going really well. 

"I don’t think we truthfully had in mind Singapore on the cards, but with the speed of the recovery, it was definitely a possible thing. We sat long and hard to think about it. Shall we do it or not? I feel like I am ready. 

“Of course we will have to wait until FP1 to see where it is at, because driving around here is a bit of a different beast.” 

Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street
Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17…

Asked what he feels most anxious about as he prepares to return to his cockpit, Albon said: “I’d say it’s more Singapore. It’s the humidity. It is the hardest race of the year, for sure. 

“I think these cars are quite different, maybe not quicker, but they are physical in their own ways. They are so stiff it is a different toll on your body. 

“On the surgery side I’m not worried about that at all, I know I’m fully recovery. It’s more just the after affects of being in intensive care basically and the toll that has on your body. 

“But I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I’d be able to race." 

Williams will once again have de Vries on standby in case Albon is unable to complete the weekend. 

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