Fernando’s Formula for Success
It’s not often that a 40+ year old racer makes a stunning comeback run. Will Power did it in IndyCar in 2022, clinching his second series championship. But he’s been driving a top-tier Penske most of his career. F1’s Fernando Alonso, on the other hand, has jumped from Renault to Ferrari to McLaren to Alpine and now to Aston Martin all in the hopes of landing a competitive ride. It hasn’t been a formula for success for the double F1 World Champion as he seems to arrive at teams just when they’re on a downward trajectory. Unquestionably, his time with McLaren Honda was a complete waste of his talent.
This weekend, Alonso made headlines around the world by taking a podium finish in his first race with Aston Martin.
It’s been a decade since his last grand prix victory, but during those intervening years, Alonso won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona, made a serious run at the Indianapolis 500 and even did the Dakar. His exploits have many convinced that Alonso is one of the greatest drivers of al time, irrespective of discipline. This weekend, he took home a podium at the Bahrain Grand Prix, behind the dominant Red Bulls. He cleanly battled Lewis Hamilton, and beat the factory team in a customer car. It was like watching Alonso in the old days. And after the race, it was all smiles; no snarky comments in the media scrum.
On the podium, Fernando’s competitiveness was on full display. By all accounts, he got beaten by the Red Bulls easily, so if he couldn’t beat the Bulls on track, he’d drown his competitors in champagne. A lot of race fans around the world, both young and old, took Alonso’s accomplishment to heart.
Alonso does not suffer fools and is known for his fiery temper. In the first lap of the Grand Prix, Alonso made an abrupt maneuver on track, attempting a cutback on Gorge Russel. He drove across the bow of teammate Lance Stroll who then made contact with Alonso’s rear right tire. Convinced that the Mercedes had punted him, Alonso commented to his team that the other driver should get a penalty. It was outright comical that the Aston Martin team waited until after the checkered flag to finally tell Fernando Alonso that his teammate Lance Stroll actually hit his race car. Remember, Lawrence Stroll is team owner, and Lance’s dad.
But Alonso is a wise old man now. During the post-race interview, teammate Stroll strolled over to hug Fernando who could clearly be heard telling his young protégé “You’re my fucking hero!” then proceeded to explain to the audience that Lance had surgery on his wrist 12 days ago, has a broken toe, and still drove competitively with the best in the world. He brushed aside anyone’s notions that the billionaire’s boy lacked motivation to be in Formula 1. Very diplomatic.
Hopefully, Fernando Alonso has found a home for the sunset years of his illustrious racing career. And if he can keep the peace while outperforming the equipment, he may yet achieve his 33rd win.