Christijan Albers is a former racing driver from the Netherlands who competed in various championships, including DTM and Formula 1. He recorded 46 starts in the Formula One World Championship between 2005 and 2007.
In the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM), he was active from 2001 to 2004, driving for Mercedes, and then again in 2008 with Audi. In five DTM seasons, he won five races and finished the best as a vice-champion in 2003.
Successful kart racer early in a career
He was born in April 1979 in Eindhoven and in his early boyhood was infected with motorsport. His father was relatively successful rallycross and Porsche Carrera racer, and Christijan at very young age began to race kart. His biggest success arrived in 1997 when Albers was crowned as Dutch National kart champion.
That year was very successful for young Dutchman as he also won the Formula Ford 1800 titles in both Belgium and Netherlands. After such good results, Christijan moved to the German Formula 3 championship with the Van Amersfoort Racing team. The first year in the series was good after Albers finished 5th in the standings and was named Rookie of the Year.
Christijan Albers at the beginning of his career
German Formula 3 champion in 1999
In 1999, Albers reached the top of the German F3 as a member of Opel Team BSR. He won six races on the way to the top spot in the Drivers’ Championship and was awarded Best International Driver nomination.
After a fine season of 1999, Christijan in the following year progressed to International Formula 3000 with Arrows F1 Junior Team, having Mark Webber as a teammate. The results were poor and Albers failed to score a single point but team boss Paul Stoddart later again signed him.
Albers was the 1999 German Formula 3 champion
Successful period in DTM
In 2001 Albers took a break from racing in single-seaters and entered DTM championship with Persson Motorsport. His rookie season wasn’t perfect but Dutch racer still was able to score a podium finish at Sachsenring before taking the 14th position in the final standings. In the following season, he moved to Team Rosberg and that was a step backward as Albers finished 20th overall.
Christijan signed with the Mercedes factory-backed HWA Team in 2003 and had his best year in the series. He won 4 out of 10 races and scored other two podiums before finishing as a runner-up, narrowly losing to legendary Bernd Schneider. At the end of the year, he was awarded Autosport Touring Car Driver of the Year.
Christijan was a runner-up in 2003 DTM season
The following year again was very good after Christijan finished 3rd overall, this time behind Mattias Ekstrom and Gary Paffett. He won the race at Estoril and had other five podiums. Albers left DTM at the end of 2004 but returned in 2008 with ByKolles Racing, driving an Audi. That year was really poor as he failed to score points out of 11 races.
Formula 1 debut in 2005
Whilst racing in DTM, Christijan also acted as a test and reserve driver for Minardi F1 Team in 2001 and 2002, while in 2004 he was a test driver for Jordan F1 team. Late in 2004 he impressed during a test at Misano Circuit with Minardi and was signed by the Italian team for the 2005 Formula 1 campaign.
Minardi always was one of outsider teams but was a good place for promoting new drivers. Driving an uncompetitive car, Albers was able to score his first and only points in the most popular motorsport series. He finished 5th in the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis before taking the 19th place in the championship.
Christijan Albers, Minardi PS05, 2005 Monaco GP
In 2006 Albers signed with Midland/Spyker F1 team and that was a really poor campaign. Dutch racer ended the season empty-handed, with 11th place in the Australian Grand Prix as the best result. He stayed with the team in 2007 but was released after the first half of the season after losing a backing of his sponsors. At the same time, that was the end of Albers’ F1 career.
The last try was in endurance racing
After ending an episode in Formula 1 and after an inglorious second attempt in DTM, Albers tried his luck in endurance racing. As a driver of ByKolles, he debuted alongside Emanuele Pirro at Laguna Seca and finished 2nd in the ALMS 2008 season-closing race.
In 2009 Christijan raced full-time in the Le Mans Series. His co-drivers in Audi R10 TDI Turbo V12 were Christian Bakkerud and Giorgio Mondini but their results were pretty modest. They also appeared at Le Mans 24 Hours and finished 9th. Albers was named Rookie of the Year in the most prominent endurance event.
Christijan Albers, Audi R10, 2010 Le Mans 24h
And that was the end of Albers’ full-time racing career. In 2010 he made another start at Le Mans but retired from the race, while his last appearing was in the FIA WEC race at Silverstone in 2012 when he was a member of Lotus team which finished 19th.
Caterham F1 Team Principal
Albers for the short time in 2014 acted as a Team Principal of the Caterham Formula 1 team. When the team was sold to a consortium from Switzerland and the Middle East, Cyril Abiteboul stepped down as a team principal and Albers was chosen to be a new team principal.
He worked on a day-to-day basis until the team collapsed before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that year.
Christijan Albers for a hort time was Caterham F1 Team Principal