Alex Albon is set to get back into a Formula 1 car less than three weeks after entering intensive care, and he’s chosen the worst possible circuit to do so.
The British-born Thai driver was taken out of action at the Italian Grand Prix ahead of qualifying on September 10 where he was diagnosed with appendicitis.
Due to ‘post-operative anesthetic complications’, Williams No. 26 later suffered respiratory failure and was admitted to intensive care, but thankfully recovered quickly and was discharged home a few days later.
Albon has since confirmed he will be racing in Singapore after going under the knife just over two weeks ago, saying he does not underestimate the challenge ahead, but previous comments from fellow riders offer a serious warning.
The 26-year-old was back smiling as he posted a compilation of his pre-race training at the Marina Bay Street circuit, followed by a statement.
“First of all, I would just like to thank everyone for all their messages and support during the Italian Grand Prix weekend,” he said.
“My preparation for Singapore was a little different from normal but I feel good and I did everything to be ready for one of the most physical races on the calendar.
“I don’t underestimate the scale of the challenge this is going to represent, but I can’t wait to hit the track on Friday and get back behind the wheel.
Most read in Sports
Fury responds to Wilder’s comments on fourth fight after calling off Joshua clash
Tyson Fury’s next opponent rumored to have fallen through the ropes after the heavyweight knocked him out
Bridges is a math teacher turned world champion boxer who wears lingerie to weigh herself
Fury ‘very disappointed’ as Warren says he didn’t tell Gypsy King about AJ fight
Incredible time-lapse video shows £1billion Spurs stadium turned into NFL arena
Slow motion shows Mayweather got nailed by heavy blow in exhibition as fans question KO
F1 star’s ‘daily ritual’ for Singapore GP involves fully naked sauna session
Usyk reveals he’s in talks on unification fight with Fury next year
“It’s a great street circuit and the closest race to my home in Thailand, so I’m really excited to be here and see the fans who came out.”
Albon is in his third season in F1, having previously raced in Singapore in 2019 for Red Bull, finishing sixth on the grid before the track was removed from the calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, her comments about it being ‘one of the most physical races’ may be disputed by her fellow competitors, who have suggested she is doing well on her own when it comes to the driver record. .
“Yes, when you’re a top athlete…that’s, that’s the hardest part, of course,” Daniel Ricciardo said in 2016.
“It’s the only race I feel where you open your visor to get some air and you don’t get any rewards for it.
“It’s just heat.”
The pilots’ cockpit reaches an astonishing 60 degrees around the five-kilometre track, with ambient temperatures around 30 degrees and humidity reaching over 80%.
Drivers stay on a European clock for the night race, waking up at noon and going to bed in the middle of the night in Singapore, confusing both body and mind.
“The night race and the hot temperatures really test you to the limit and for me Singapore is physically the toughest race of the season,” said world champion Max Verstappen.
“I’ve already been preparing for a few weeks to do heat training in the sauna and prepare to sweat.”
Not only does the city and atmosphere provide an incredibly daunting challenge, but the track itself is just as difficult.
A city circuit that twists and turns around a beautiful Southeast Asian backdrop, but it’s not a tarmac cruise in the park like many newer circuits, it’s bumpy as hell, with the 2022 cars much more affected by uneven track surfaces than before.
Its 23 corners are also incredibly tight and walled, meaning Safety Cars are a near certainty, having come at the previous 12 races at Marina Bay.
It also lengthens the Grand Prix itself, with delays meaning the race is often the longest of the season, hitting the two-hour mark on four occasions, having to end without the initial number of laps completed.
“It’s wet, it’s hot and it’s always a long race,” said former Haas and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean.
“We usually hit the two-hour limit. It’s very, very demanding. I remember in 2013 I lost four kilos of water during the race, which is a lot.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez added: “The last ten laps, twenty laps, you’re really praying for a safety car because it’s really, really hard to finish the race, physically.
“And mentally too. Mentally it’s a really big challenge because every corner, most corners, if you make a mistake you just hit the wall and it’s a puncture or something.
Pierre Gasly said: “It’s the most physically demanding race of the year.”
“I trained for the heat, I wore a lot of clothes and I sweated a lot, making sure I was too hot and I will do this kind of training until the weekend, as well as spending time in the sauna.
“I think it will be the toughest race of the year.”
Good luck Alex, just hope those stitches are done right…
Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT
At talkSPORT we are powered by fans, so come join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – at the talkSPORT fan zone.
In a huge covered room under the arches of Waterloo in London, we will bring you live screenings of every World Cup game.
There will be Q&A with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live shows and plenty of food and drink will be on offer too.
Come and have the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a free pint – with tickets for the England and Wales group stage matches on sale now HERE!