Fernando Alonso may be flailing around in a challenging McLaren-Honda car at the moment but it has not always been his lot in life. He is a double champion and many Formula 1 fans believe him to be one of, if not the, best driver on the grid.
Alonso isn’t coming close to claiming that but in some ways he is. In an odd commentary regarding his skills, the Spaniard said:
“I always feel confident about beating anyone,” Alonso told Sky F1’s Martin Brundle last weekend ahead of his race return in China.
“I don’t believe that I’m better than anyone on pure speed in qualifying, I don’t think I’m better than anyone in wet conditions, dry conditions, qualifying, race. But if you put me in the same car at the same moment and same track as anyone. I think that I will beat them.
“Maybe I’m not best of all sections, but overall I will beat them.”
He’s not better than everyone but he can beat everyone. I’ll let you do the math(s) on that one. The two-time champ is a rare talent in F1 and always has been since his early days in a backmarker car.
Times have changes since Alonso won his two titles and in many ways, drivers have changed with the evolution of F1 to hybrid power units and high degradation tires. They’ve adapted and changed their approach to racing. Veteran like Alonso and his teammate, Jenson Button, have done a really good job of adapting but Fernando isn’t too keen on the current format of racing and it is a lot of the reason Red Bull’s Mark Webber retired early. Alonso said:
“Right now I don’t think that we are enjoying driving as much as we should do,” he added. “We cannot be seven or eight seconds slower than 10 years ago. This is not fun to drive.
“You are always saving – saving tyres, saving fuel, saving batteries – it is the opposite of our instinct. I hope next year it returns to a more normal driving style.”
Clearly an advocate for changes in 2017, Alonso, as well as his teammate, would like a return of more driver-reliant racing and a move away from “lift-and-coast” racing. The big question is, even with those chassis changes in 2017, will Honda provide a hybrid power unit capable of giving Alonso, not only a more visceral driving experience that is pushing 100%, but the ability of being competitive enough to win another title?
Alonso says he feels another title is possible if the elements all come together.
Hat Tip: Sky Sports F1