Fernando Alonso’s spectacular Formula 1 return hardly has gone according to plan. The Alpine F1 team has not yet been able to fully carry over the momentum from 2020 into the current Formula One season, and teammate Esteban Ocon is also in somewhat better form after five races of the season.
The Spaniard is nevertheless satisfied with the decision to make his Formula 1 comeback despite his big admission on his comeback into the sport; saying that he had originally expected less time to get used to the car.
Although the former champion still sees the current season as playing an important role, the focus is on 2022 anyway. In this respect, Alpine is in a good position.
Fernando Alonso left Formula 1 in 2018 after 16 years, a period in which the Spaniard hardly took a break and raced in many different series. A phase in which he realised how much he needed the steering wheel between his hands. A Formula 1 comeback was therefore far from off the table.
After the Spaniard had finished the Dakar Rally, it finally happened – the possibility of returning to the pinnacle.
“I considered other series, but Formula One was the only healthy option in my opinion, where there will be a competitive championship and race weekends with a touch of normality even after the pandemic,” Alonso told ‘Racer’ in an interview during the Monaco Grands Prix.
“My biggest motivation was the new regulations, but the changes have been postponed. So going in directly in 2022 would have been more of a challenge to adapt to everything quickly.”
not everything is going smoothly for Alonso. The Spaniard has not yet been able to fully acclimatise to the A521, which also affects his lap times. The Spaniard has scored five points so far. By comparison, team-mate Ocon has scored twelve points in five races.
Facts for which Alonso himself does not want to invent any excuses. “Maybe I’m having a harder time than I expected. But it’s not like I thought the results would come automatically,” said the two-time world champion, who says he needs a little more time to overcome these problems. “I thought I would be at 100 per cent within three or four races. But the whole thing will ultimately take eight or nine races.”
Next season, however, the adjustment difficulties should be finally eliminated. After all, it is then that bigger goals should be on the agenda. The Formula 1 teams’ hopes are based on the new technical regulations, which could mix up the field.
Alonso and Alpine also reckon they have a good chance: “If we are hopefully in a position to fight for the world championship in 2022, 2023 or 2024, then we have to be ready as a team to withstand the pressure and the heat in important moments of a race.”
In that respect, however, Alonso says Alpine is on the right track. “I think we are 90 per cent ready, but there are always things you can improve. Even with the top teams like Mercedes or Red Bull,” the Asturian is referring, among other things, to Mercedes’ pit stop problems, which have not just been around since the Monaco GP.
In the end, however, it is mistakes like these from which you learn the most, Alonso explains: “There are things that have to go wrong during a weekend in order to learn from them. You then make small changes in that structure or organisation and you’re stronger next time.”