Alonso: My return still linked to F1 2022 regulations
Fernando Alonso’s return to Formula 1 hasn’t been helped by having to work hard in the Alpine just good enough for the midfielder, which he accepts this season as he has a firm focus on 2022.
Next year, of course, new F1 regulations will come into effect which (hopefully) will level the playing field for teams that have been chasing Mercedes and now Red Bull for over a decade.
The new era of the new sport – 2022 – is what tempted the two-time F1 world champion to return to the top flight, and said Marca he does not regret anything: “I am happy with my return to F1 and the difficulties are part of the learning curve that I started in 2021.
“When will we have the opportunity to win, or get closer to the best? If we do things right, it will be in 2022. In 2021, when I signed with Renault [now Alpine] I knew we were going to fight to get into Q3 when possible
“Then after the first few races and the people at home think we’re going to be on the podium, which hasn’t been well reported because every time I’ve spoken since I signed last year, it was still 2021 to learn and build the team for 2022. And then, well, let’s see how it goes.
“My return has always been linked to the new 2022 regulations. For 2021 I never had a clear objective, I wanted to get used to F1 again, take advantage of it and that’s what I did at the start of the season. but without a clear goal of finishing eighth, or fifth; or twelfth or other.
Alonso is a two-time F1 world champion, his titles won in 2006 and 2007 are only a distant memory, but the reality is that the Spaniard could have been five or six times F1 world champion if the circumstances had been right. different. He has been a finalist three times (2010, 2012 and 2013) and third (2007) on one occasion.
Statistics he recognized during the interview: “We have been champions twice, finalists four others; and in three of them less than three points. So, well, besides being a two-time champion, I think I was a title contender for five or six years until the last race.
“And in that last race, maybe the 20th, 40th or 50th lap, we were virtually the leaders in the world championship. So I’m proud of it. We are not giving up and we are fighting to always be in the game, ”Alonso recalled.
Fast forward to this season, Alpine is not in contention for the podium this year, depending on Alonso’s experience and technique to make the most of what they have in the A521. Meanwhile, the F1 spotlight shines brightly on the battle between his former nemesis and his teammate Lewis Hamilton and his apparent heir Max Verstappen.
Alonso weighed in on the competition for this year’s title battle between Mercedes and Red Bull: “If we were to call a favorite now, it would surely be Verstappen. But the two are very even and it is clear that the world championship will be between them.
“What happens will depend on what Mercedes can bring to the battle in the next races and what Red Bull can offer its drivers, but it will be more competitive; it won’t be a Mercedes cruise and it should be very tight until the end.
“Verstappen is spectacular and I love watching it, riders like this always give you something extra and these are the ones you want to cheer on and hope things go well for them.”
Alonso, 39, made no secret of his admiration for the young pilots of the sport, making George Russell a future champion and his admiration for Max is well known, the two pilots much younger than him.
But the age difference does not concern the veteran of the 320 Grand Prix starts: “From the outside, we make too much noise about the age of a driver. This year it’s exaggerated, the questions I had to answer about age and the subjects to which I had to listen are sometimes totally excessive.
“Throughout my career, it has been the other way around. In each category, I have always been younger than my rivals. And lately when I went to the Indy or the Dakar – I was one of the youngest…
“Throughout my life I have answered questions about age. Now F1 is what it is, it gets a lot of media coverage and you have to talk a bit about everything. Also on age but in motorsport where we have the stopwatch to judge and that does not lie. Otherwise, there would only be young drivers here. It would be like going karting with 12 or 16 year olds, ”said Alonso.