The fortunes of the two drivers occupying the second Red Bull Racing seat alongside Max Verstappen is a big storyline in the second season of Netflix ’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive documentary.
Two episodes of the 10-part series, which dropped on February 28, are dedicated to the drama which sees Pierre Gasly demoted from Red Bull back to Toro Rosso – for whom he drove in 2018 – in favour of London-born Thai, Alex Albon.
While the first of these two episodes is focused on the Frenchman, the second follows Albon as he goes the opposite way from Red Bull’s junior team to the front of the grid.
While his Red Bull Racing debut goes well, storming form last to fifth at the Belgian Grand Prix, it’s the references about his past away from the track which will leave viewers curious. At one point a Red Bull Racing press officer refuses to let a journalist ask Albon anything that’s not related to racing during an interview in Belgium.
Soon afterwards though the 23-year-old and his mum talk about Kankamol being sent to prison in 2012. Alex describes that year as "by far the hardest year I've had in my life", recalling how he "saw her get locked up and taken away".
The news was broken by the Mirror in 2018 which revealed that she was jailed for a £7.5million car scam.
She sold Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royces to investors at discounted rates with a promise of selling them on again for quick profits.
However most customers never received their motors, and one car was sold twice to different customers.
Kankamol Albon owned a £4million country house in Essex – complete with its own moat. She also spent £10,000 a year sending her five children to private school.
She was arrested in 2008 when she went bust before admitting false representation and cheating the public revenue.
Jailing her Ipswich Crown Court in 2012, Judge Rupert Overbury called her crimes a “massive, greed-driven fraud. You persistently defrauded investors.
“The majority never saw a car.”
Kankamol was sentenced to six years in prison but was released in 2015.
Her house was also repossessed while police flogged her Mulberry handbags to recoup another £60,000.
Kankamol tells Netflix she has paid for her crime and "Alex has forgiven" her.
How Alex Albon nearly missed out on Formula 1
While Alex, who was 15 when his mother was jailed, has a British father he has decided to race under a Thai licence making him just the second Thai driver to race in Formula 1 after Prince Bira in 1954.
However he very nearly didn’t even make it to the F1 grid in 2019.
As he approached the end of the previous year’s Formula 2 series – the junior category immediately below – Albon signed to race in Formula E due to a lack of available drives in F1.
However after a drive came up at Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s junior team, he was released by his Formula E team.
After 11 races with Toro Rosso he replaced Gasly at Red Bull Racing for the remainder of 2019 during which he did enough to convince team boss Christian Horner to retain him for 2020.
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