Fernando Alonso has recently challenged the prevailing notion that F1 drivers possess the power to single-handedly “build teams.” His skepticism comes in the wake of Lewis Hamilton and, more recently, Max Verstappen’s periods of dominance in the sport.
Over the past decade, Formula 1 has witnessed two distinct eras of domination, orchestrated by Mercedes and Red Bull, respectively.
Mercedes initiated their reign in 2014, capitalizing on the introduction of new engine regulations and revolutionizing the sport with their remarkable power unit.
This swift transition catapulted them to seven consecutive drivers’ championships and an astonishing eight constructors’ championships, solidifying their status as the most dominant force in Formula 1 history.
Similarly, Red Bull has taken the reins of F1 supremacy with Max Verstappen following the introduction of new regulations in 2022. Their ascendance has been nothing short of remarkable.
The concept of drivers “building teams” has long been a subject of criticism aimed at Alonso, given his history of discord with key team members before switching teams.
Nonetheless, Alonso contends that the notion of drivers singlehandedly elevating teams from mediocrity to dominance, as seen with Mercedes and Red Bull, is essentially a myth.
“I think this is something that is always said about drivers ‘building’ teams,” he told The Telegraph.
“But when Lewis went to Mercedes, he didn’t ‘build’ anything. It was just a change in regulations that built everything for him.
“And when Max joined Toro Rosso and Red Bull it was still Hamilton winning everything.
“He didn’t ‘build’ a winning Red Bull team. In 2021 it was very close between them, and now with the change in regulations last year, Red Bull win every race so far this season.
“So I don’t know exactly what we mean when we say you can ‘build’ teams around you because I think this is a sport where, you know, technical decisions, technical regulations, inspiration from the design office or wind tunnel or something like that normally makes more difference than your input, your feedback, your personality, or your way of driving.”