Fernando Alonso’s return to F1 was always linked to 2022 season – “We fight to always be in the mix”

Fernando Alonso‘s return to Formula 1 has not seen the best light considering he has to toil in a midfield-driven car.

However, he is ready to endure the current season in preparation for the upcoming 2022 season.

The season next year will see the implementation of new regulations which will level the playing field for all the teams.

Most of the last decade has been spent by teams chasing Mercedes and Red Bull which might see a change.

It is this change that tempted the two-time world champion to return to Formula 1.

What did Alonso say?

“I’m happy with my return to F1 and the difficulties are part of the learning curve I set out to on in 2021,” he said.

“When will we have the opportunity to win, or to be closer to the best? If we do things well, it will be in 2022. In 2021, when I signed for Renault [now Alpine] I knew that we would be fighting to get into Q3 when possible

“Then after the first races and people at home think we’re going be on the podium, which was not well reported because whenever I spoke since I signed last year, it was always 2021 for learning and building the team in preparation for 2022. And then, well, let’s see how things turn out

“My return was always linked to the new 2022 regulations. For 2021 I never had a clear goal, I wanted to get used to F1 again, enjoy it and that’s what I did at the start of the season but without a clear goal of finishing the eighth, or the fifth; or twelfth or whatever,” he stated.

Alonso recalls his previous victories

Alonso had won two world championships back in 2006 and 2007.

Additionally, he was runner-up thrice (2010, 2012, and 2013) and third (2007) on one occasion.

“We were Champions twice, runners-up another four; and in three of them by less than three points. So, well, apart from being two-time champions, I think I’ve been a title contender for five or six years until the last race,” he added.

“And in that last race maybe on lap 20, on 40, or on lap 50 we were virtual leaders of the world championship. So I am proud of that. We do not give up, and we fight to always be in the mix,” recalled Alonso.

2021 season all about Mercedes and Red Bull

One thing is certain, Alonso is currently out of the competition for the title this year. Alpine are completely dependent on Alonso’s performance with his A521.

However, the current season is being dominated by Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

 “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,” Alonso stated.

“What happens will depend on what Mercedes can bring to the battle in next races and what Red Bull can deliver for their drivers but it will be more competitive; it won’t be a Mercedes cruise and it should be very close until the end.

“Verstappen is spectacular and I enjoy watching him, drivers like that always offer you something extra and those are the ones you want to cheer for and hope things go well for them.”

Alonso in praise of young drivers

The 39-year-old has always been vocal about his admiration of young drivers. For instance, he said that George Russell is a potential future world champion.

Additionally, he has also been supportive of Verstappen.

“From the outside, too much is made about a driver’s age. This year it’s exaggerated, the questions that I have had to answer about age and the topics that I have had to listen to are at times totally excessive,” he added

“Throughout my entire career, it’s been the other way around. In every category, I was always 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 is very media-driven, and you have to talk a little about everything. Also about age but in motorsport where we have the stopwatch to judge and that does not lie. If not, there would only be young drivers here. It would be like karting with 12- or 16-year-olds,” he concluded.

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