Cracks are appearing in the driving skills of many peoples favourite world champion on the current F1 grid. Yes, Fernando Alonso has been somewhat unlucky during the first four races of the season, but made uncharacteristic errors in Miami that have only served to fuel the rumours he is set to be replaced by young gun Oscar Piastri.
The 2021 Formula 2 champion is believed by many to be the next piece of hot driver property in F1 and as the Alpine reserve driver this year he is waiting in the wings.
Fernando damaged Gasley’s car in Miami and gained an ‘off the track’ advantage which saw him relegated from 8th to outside the points.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon has conversely started the season superbly and is contracted until 2023, so the only driver set to be replaced at Alpine is Fernando.
Alonso has just 2 points from 5 races whilst the Alpine car looks one of the better midfield runners. By contrast Ocon has 24 points and just one race outside the points. Had his Spanish team mate performed to a similar standard, Alpine would be currently challenging McLaren for the ‘best of the rest’ P4 spot.
Sounding rather politically correct, Alpine’s boss Otmar Szafnauer insisted “It’s very frustrating, of course, but he’s fine and we all want more, both us and Fernando.”
“In Miami he should have been further ahead, Q3 was a narrow escape because he was blocked by Sainz, and if you start at the front the race is completely different, because we had the pace of a Bottas or Hamilton on one lap.
“We have to put it all together with Fernando. We will do it in the short run and score more points.
“It’s frustrating, but better times will come. The good thing is that the package is working. The other things we can work on.”
Yet in the next breath Szafnauer admitted the talk of Piastri replacing Alonso was on the agenda. “We haven’t thought that through yet, because it’s a little bit early, but around Silverstone we will probably be talking about it,” he told Motorsport.com.
At 40 years of age it is inevitable Fernando Alonso’s time in the sport is limited, and he surely needs a good home GP in Barcelona this weekend and to definitely beat his team mate.