Even when Fernando Alonso raced around the world in 2021, he was still glued to F1 and closely watching two drivers in particular. The 40-year-old is preparing for a second season with Alpine and said there is little stopping them from being competitive this year.
Returning to the team formerly known as Renault, where he won his two championships in 2005 and 2006, the veteran in 2021 managed to get on the podium and play a key role in his teammate Esteban Ocon’s first victory by holding off Lewis Hamilton during 11 crucial laps. in Hungary.
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When asked which drivers he followed during his two-year sabbatical from F1, Alonso replied: “I also said at the beginning of the championship, before it started, in Bahrain, that the driver who impressed me the most when I was at home watching in the television was George [Russell], on acting in Williams, and Max [Verstappen]. Those were the two guys that was turning on the television… ”
That was before Daniel Ricciardo quickly cut him off, who reminded the Alpine driver that he should have been watching the Australian’s exploits at Renault before joining McLaren for 2021.
“And Daniel”, laughed Alonso, “because I was in the Renault and that car interested me a lot last year, but no, I mean, they were giving something extra and that was the reason why I was putting the television on. ”
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Last season, however, Alonso got off to a rocky start due to a cycling accident, which saw his preparations delayed, and this month he has two weeks off to remove the metal plates on his jaw.
“I think we need a good winter, that’s for sure, I need to be prepared or prepare a little better than last year; the February accident with the bicycle did not help last year, “he said before having surgery.
“This January I will have to remove the plates from my face, so I will have two weeks off in January, but I probably took them off anyway, even without the surgery, because it is time to relax. But after that we have to go to the winter tests with a good program, physically and also in the car. And if the car is competitive, I am sure that I will be 100% ”.
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Alonso added that Alpine has every chance to produce a competitive car this season as F1 enters a new era with strict and ongoing cost caps aimed at further leveling the playing field.
“And it’s up to us to make a good car; We will or we will learn from our mistakes, ”he said. “But there are no more [excuses]: we have less budget or we have fewer resources or they are using two wind tunnels. There’s no more [of] all those things, so it’s up to us, ”he concluded.