Alonso brings hope to F1
Alonso’s debut podium for Aston Martin raises hope for the 2023 F1 season, with the potential to challenge Red Bull. Despite his “bad guy” persona, his talent and the team’s progress cannot be denied.
Aston Martin has outperformed bigger teams, and Alonso believes this is just the beginning of their improvement curve. While still behind Red Bull, there is optimism for a more competitive season, with Alonso potentially leading the charge.
If Fernando Alonso hadn’t been present, the start of the 2023 Formula 1 season would have lacked optimism. Red Bull’s exceptional work over the winter is commendable, as evidenced by Max Verstappen’s dominating performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix. However, the possibility of a more competitive season this year does not provide much encouragement following a lackluster 2022 season.
Enter Alonso, who secured a podium finish on his debut with Aston Martin, raising the faint possibility that he may serve as an unexpected savior for the 2023 F1 season.
It’s astonishing to contemplate that Alonso could be the hero that F1 desperately requires this year, not only due to the significant transformation that Aston Martin underwent to make it happen but also because Alonso himself is considered the “villain” of F1.
Alonso is unmatched in his ability to play the role of F1’s pantomime villain, which he has perfected over the years. His antics on and off the track have added significant value to F1’s entertainment factor. In the recent season of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive,” a particular incident highlights this.
As the controversial departure of Alonso from Alpine to join Aston Martin for the 2023 season is about to unfold, he declares in his interview, “In Formula 1, there always have to be good and bad characters, heroes, and anti-heroes. I’m on the dark side.”
Only Alonso knows precisely what he means by this statement, but it appears that he is content with embracing the role that has been unjustly thrust upon him. It could be viewed as an “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality, and if that is the case, he is certainly adept at playing the part. This is not to say that he is a villain, but he has a remarkable ability to play up to that persona.
Perhaps this was a natural progression in his career as he spent more and more time driving for midfield teams that did not match his skill level. Alonso has always been one of F1’s most captivating personalities, both on and off the track.
As he bids farewell in the Netflix episode, announcing his move to Aston Martin, he waves and declares, “Bye-bye. I’m still the bad guy.”
However, it seems that Alonso’s “bad guy” persona may no longer apply, given the positive response to his and Aston Martin’s performance in Bahrain, both during the test and the race. There is a sense that Alonso may need to seize the opportunity presented by Ferrari and Mercedes’ recent shortcomings.
If Alonso chooses to embrace the role of hero, it would be a refreshing change of pace. It’s much more gratifying to see him in the spotlight as a leading figure in F1, rather than just a humorous diversion, which has been the case for some time.
Given the disappointing performance of bigger teams, Alonso finds himself in a position where he may be the one to challenge Red Bull.
Alonso deemed his third-place finish in Bahrain as “a perfect start for this project,” and even though Aston Martin anticipated making progress during the winter break, their performance exceeded expectations.
Alonso stated, “Our goal for 2023 was to compete in the midfield, perhaps leading that group and eventually catching up to the top three teams. Even a podium finish may not have been a realistic objective for 2023, yet we discovered that we had the second-best car in Bahrain, just behind Red Bull.”
Aston Martin has outperformed the Mercedes works team in creating a superior aerodynamic platform, despite using the same wind tunnel and rear mechanical platform on the car.
Additionally, the AMR23 appears to be a better racing car than the SF-23, or at least it did during the Bahrain Grand Prix. Furthermore, the car has proven to be more reliable.
It’s no surprise that Alonso is pleased with the team’s performance. They have managed to outshine some of the biggest names in F1. However, the way in which Alonso spoke about his current and former bosses was not particularly modest.
In a candid statement, Alonso stated, “You need to have the vision and ambition of Lawrence Stroll, our leadership, and management because the opportunities are available to everyone, but it appears that only one team is willing to do whatever it takes to win. I’m proud to be a part of this organization.”
Alonso deserves to relish in the success of his astute decision to join Aston Martin at this stage in his career.
Aston Martin is a highly ambitious project, and it is not on the same level as Williams or Haas, but it is also not in the same league as Mercedes or Ferrari. While it aspires to achieve that level of success, it is not there yet. For now, Aston Martin should aim to surpass McLaren and Alpine. However, at the start of this season, they have surpassed these teams and have produced a faster and more reliable package than Mercedes and Ferrari.
If every team in F1 were performing at their highest level, Alonso and Aston Martin would be insignificant in 2023. This is simply a reflection of where each team should be currently, not their potential. Instead, while Aston Martin has risen to the occasion, some of the most prominent teams have faltered.
It is important to maintain a sense of realism, as even with a flawless race, Alonso would still have finished around thirty seconds behind Verstappen. Perhaps Bahrain overstated the strengths of the Aston Martin, and it may fall behind Ferrari or Mercedes (or both) in a way that limits Alonso’s impact on the 2023 season.
However, Alonso believes that this project is at the beginning of a significant improvement curve. He referred to the AMR23 as “basic” on Saturday and pledged on Sunday evening that “this is just the beginning.”
Alonso declared, “This is not the final car, it’s just the beginning of this concept that we changed over the winter.”
He further explained, “Some of the top teams maintained their philosophy from last year. Red Bull and Ferrari retained many of the same shapes, only making minor adjustments to perfect their solid foundation. However, for us, it was much more challenging. We had to change 95% of the car. So, there is still more to learn from the car, and we have more to offer.”
This could be the glimmer of hope that F1 needs, especially as faith in a challenge to Red Bull is at an all-time low.
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- MORE FORMULA 1!
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- Stroll’s emotional Bahrain GP: Extreme discomfort and tears after opening-lap clash with teammate Alonso
- Alonso praises team effort as Aston Martin’s strong start raises hopes for top team challenge
- Alonso and Aston Martin kick off F1 season with podium finish
- FP3 – Alonso reigns supreme once again in FP3
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