According to most of the F1 pundits, Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen are set to run away with this years Formula One titles. However, there’s a glimmer of hope given the performance of the Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso in particular.
Fernando knows if he’d been in the right car at the right time he should have more than his two F1 driver titles and has something to prove.
Aston Martin set to fight RBR
The Spaniard was delighted with his AMR23 in Bahrain though he describe it as “the basic platform” to which many developments will be added during the season.
Given Aston Martin’s huge advantage over Red Bull in the extra wind tunnel and computer aided aerodynamics testing time, its not inconceivable the Silverstone based organisation can match if not out develop the current world champions this year.
Clearly delighted with his new team Fernando recently had one last dig at his former French employers Alpine, who refused tooter his more than a single year’s contract extension for 2023.
Fernando sarcastic dig at former team
“Everyone [at Aston Martin] is hungry for success,” Alonso said
“Maybe they didn’t experience fighting for wins regularly or championships or podiums every weekend but they trust themselves, they have self confidence and they know they can achieve that but they never did yet.
“This is very different compared to other teams that I joined in the last few occasions [including Alpine and McLaren].
“Maybe they had success in the past and they were just in a comfortable position. They were just fourth and they were happy with fourth.”
“They were fifth, they were happy with fifth. If we were seventh there was a celebration.
Aston Martin deserved celebrations for podium finish
Here [at Aston Martin] there are no celebrations until we win and this is very appealing.”
Alpine boss Otmar Szafnaeur couldn’t resist responding to his ex-driver’s comments:
“I think when we did finish fourth, if you look back, he [Alonso] was as happy as everybody else who was part of the team.
“For us, next year, if we can get much closer to third than we were this year, I’ll celebrate that too. If we’re closer and the gap isn’t that big, that means we’re making progress to where we want to go.”
Irony of Alpine F1 boss ambitions
The irony of Szafnaeur’s ambition will not be lost on Fernando given it is Aston Martin who are currently P2 in the constructors’ championship while Alpine are languishing after the first race back in 6th place.
Damon Hill believes Fernando is as fierce a competitor now as he as ever been and this can only propel Aston Martin to new heights.
The British F1 champion of 1996 does though recognise that Alonso at times “fouls his nest” and delights to “rub salt in the wound.”
Hill says Alonso “left a trail”
“Well, the view with Fernando was he kind of used to foul his nest a little bit when he went from one team to another, and he’s got a trail of kind of rather destroyed people behind him,” Hill said when speaking to Sky Sports News.
“And so his reputation didn’t help him, and he’s zagged when he should have zigged, but he certainly zagged the right way this time with Aston Martin, and so the joy was very self-evident.
“But the guy is a master. I mean, he is a master of understanding a race, he’s a master of competing, he seems to stay out of trouble, he has picked people off in the race and also he’s brilliant with his comments.
Alpine set to squirm further
“You know, he knows exactly what to say to rub salt into the wounds if he has to. I think every racing driver looks at him and goes ‘now, there’s a very formidable competitor.’”
For now Alonso will let his on track performances speak for themselves, but the war of words with Alpine is not over by a long shot.
Alonso clearly feels wronged by how his contract extension discussions were managed by Alpine and he’ll extract every last bit of revenge he can when the time is right.