F1’s Alex Albon on self-driving cars: ‘As long as I’m not out of a job!’

F1’s Alex Albon on self-driving cars: ‘As long as I’m not out of a job!’

Alexander Albon talks about what and how he uses his technology off the track

Alexander Albon talks about what and how he uses his technology off the track (Image: Williams Racing/xpbimages.com)

The 26-year-old Williams F1 driver talks about self-driving cars and his idol, Michael Schumacher.

Would you call yourself a fan of gadgets?

I remember when I got the first iPhone, when touch screens were just becoming a thing.

It was pretty much a choice between that and an LG Prada phone, so I bought the iPhone and that was it. I still use an iPhone now.

What do you take with you when you run to the other side of the world?

I like to play games, so gaming laptops have always been a thing for me.

I use a Razer and bought one for my girlfriend [professional golfer Lily Muni] also. We have a long distance relationship, which means we can play together. Recently, I’ve also been getting into VR with the Oculus Rift.

We love a game called Golf+. We had a few races that were delayed this year, so we went back to moving the tables in the motorhome and brought out the VR headset.

The iPhone is Albon's

The iPhone is Albon’s (Image: Supplied/Metro.co.uk)

James Moy Photography via PA Images Alexander Albon (THA) Williams Racing with his girlfriend Muni Lily He (CHN) a professional golfer.  Hungarian Grand Prix, Saturday July 30, 2022. Budapest, Hungary.

He recently bought his golfer girlfriend Lily a Razer (Image: James Moy Photography/PA Images)

Do you also play racing games?

Little bit. But with racing games, the relationship between what we do and what professional eSports drivers do is very close.

There are racing games for PC, especially iRacing, which are not far off. We also have our own simulators in the factory that we rely heavily on.

Have you raced against any of the eSports drivers?

Yes, it’s interesting because they have slightly different techniques. Much of it is based on muscle memory and repetition, while track racing is a bit more reactive and instinctive.

They have incredible precision, they almost become robotic. But it’s really impressive and exciting because eSports drivers get a chance to drive in real life. They’re also doing simulation work for us.

Do you have a favorite bit of technology in the car?

The Mercedes Benz GLE that Albon drives when he's not on the track

The Mercedes Benz GLE that Albon drives when he’s not on the track (Image: Mercedes-Benz/Justin Leighton)

I am very dependent on Apple CarPlay. That for me is almost a necessity. Unfortunately we don’t have it in our F1 car.

Off the track I drive a Mercedes GLE. In fact, I see autonomous driving as a good thing, as long as I can do my races and that part doesn’t go autonomous, because then I would be out of a job.

Do you have any technology that helps you stay fit?

I use many fitness apps like Polar watch and a chest strap to monitor my heart rate, and Oura Ring to monitor my sleep. And a BlazePod that I use to do reaction exercises to warm up before I get in the car.

Albon has a Blazepod for his F1 exercises

Albon has a Blazepod for his F1 exercises (Image: Supplied/Metro.co.uk)

The aura ring to track sleep.

The aura ring for sleep tracking (Image: Supplied/Metro.co.uk)

Is there an era of Formula One that you wish you had raced in?

I feel very privileged to be able to say that I have driven the fastest Formula One cars, but I am a huge fan of V10s from the late 90s or early 2000s.

When I was five, six, seven years old, Michael Schumacher was my idol, so it would be great to drive his 2004 Ferrari. I can always dream.

If you could invent a gadget, what would it do?

A time machine. There are a lot of responsibilities involved, but I am thinking, very selfishly, that if I made a mistake in qualifying it would mean that I could do it again.

Bang & Olufsen is a sponsor of the Williams Formula One team.

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