Fernando Alonso has highlighted Alex Albon and Lando Norris as standout young talents in Formula 1.
At 42, with a record number of F1 grands prix under his belt and more to come, Alonso is finding fresh competitive spirit in his 2023 Aston Martin stint.
Switching from Alpine this year was a gut decision for him. “First, Vettel retired,” Alonso told Cadena Ser. “Second, Alpine had been negotiating for several months and nothing was ever finalised.
“We had agreed on everything, but the papers didn’t arrive. I noticed a slight lack of professionalism. “But with Aston, they had everything on the table on Saturday after Vettel’s announcement on Thursday. That desire to have me was attractive.
“It was an adventure, a risk, but it turned out well and the hunch worked this time. There were a few hours with the two offers on the table, but I saw more ambition in Aston Martin.
” After marking his presence with some early podiums in 2023, Aston Martin’s form wavered. Nonetheless, Alonso remains poised for a journey to the top.
“Hopefully now, for 2024, if we make a big leap in the winter similar to the leap we made last winter, it would be incredible. So, hopefully.
” But he maintains a realistic perspective on clinching a 33rd career victory. “I may retire without achieving it,” said Alonso, “but every time I eat breakfast every day, I am thinking about fighting for the world championship.
“If I am here, if I sacrifice my life for this sport and for this passion, it is because I believe in the team and I believe that I can win.”
With Max Verstappen’s dominant spree with Red Bull, some argue F1 is losing its thrill. However, Alonso sees it as quintessential F1.
“It wouldn’t be F1,” he said when questioned about equality in driver chances. “There have always been different teams, and technology has always made the difference. It has always been like that and it always will be like that. Because it is the premier category.
” So, which new-generation drivers catch Alonso’s eye? “Well, we have Lando (Norris), who is a great talent and also a nice guy.
“(Alex) Albon is standing out a lot this year. Then there is (Gabriel) Bortoleto, who has just won F3. And Pepe Marti,” he noted, spotlighting a young Spanish racer who is managed by his own company, and newly signed by Red Bull’s academy.
“In Indy there is (Alex) Palou. In the end, the stopwatch always rules and there are many who push us veterans like (Lewis) Hamilton and I, but at the moment the veterans defend ourselves quite well,” Alonso shared with a chuckle.