The story goes that Alex Albon, when arriving at his hotel ahead of Formula 2's 2018 pre-season test at Bahrain, found that he didn't have a room booked for him. Luckily, the Arden team happened to be staying at the same hotel, and Albon shared a room with friend and former GP3 team-mate Nirei Fukuzumi.
Albon began 2018 with no drive, no backing and no money. He'd run ART stablemate Charles Leclerc close to the GP3 title in 2016, missing out by just 25 points, and then stepped up to F2 with the French squad. Although consistent at the start of a difficult 2017 season, his progress was interrupted by a broken collarbone, and ART decided to promote from within for 2018.
British duo George Russell, fresh from winning GP3, and Jack Aitken were installed as its drivers for the first season with F2's new car. Albon was left without a seat, while ThaiBev - which had helped Albon through the junior categories after being dropped from the Red Bull programme - also wound back its support. He was out of pocket, without the backing to secure himself a seat.