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Why De la Rosa is convinced Alonso remains one of F1's top three talents at 41 · RaceFans – RaceFans

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14th October 2022, 7:1513th October 2022, 22:31 | Written by
Fernando Alonso’s age will not diminish his drive to success when he joins Aston Martin next season, says Pedro de la Rosa.

The double world champion will depart from Alpine at the end of 2022 and move to Silverstone to join Aston Martin. His friend and former colleague De la Rosa has recently also joined the team as a brand ambassador. The pair previously worked together at Jaguar, McLaren and Ferrari.
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Asked by RaceFans how important their strong working history would be for their efforts to help bring Aston Martin to the front of the field, De la Rosa said that there will be many familiar faces for Alonso when he joins the team after the end of the season.
“I haven’t spoken with Fernando that much, since [joining Aston Martin],” said De la Rosa. “But I’m very excited, he knows that.

Pedro de la Rosa, Fernando Alonso, Jaguar, 2022
The pair worked together when Alonso tested for Jaguar in 2002

“To an extent, I think he’s also happy that I’m in the team. I think that if I’m here, it’s also because of him. There’s nothing better for a person, for an ex-driver like myself, than when you turn up [and] there are many people that have worked with you in the past. There’s nothing better than to feel that those people, that know you better than anyone, want you back.
“This is a feeling I’ve had here, but not because of Fernando – there’s many other guys I’ve worked with in the Formula 1 paddock in the past 15 years that are inside Aston Martin in every department. So it makes me extremely proud that Aston Martin has called me and that they want me in the team, mainly because I have worked with these guys, with these people, and Fernando is one of them of course.”
Alonso will join Aston Martin on a multi-year contract beginning in the 2023 F1 season, at the age of 41 – the same age De la Rosa was during his final season in F1 with HRT back in 2012. Despite Alonso joining a new team at an age that is rarely reached by active drivers, De la Rosa has no doubt he remains one of F1’s elite drivers.
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“I’ve always said there are possibly three drivers that are special in Formula 1,” he said. “I won’t say which names – I’m pretty sure you will know most of them, it’s not that difficult – but Fernando has always been there.
“I’ve always said that Fernando is one of the best drivers in the history of Formula 1. When I said this a few years ago, everyone thought I was crazy – but I’m still crazy because I think he’s unique. He’s fully motivated, which is also a very, very, very important detail in the life of a Formula 1 driver, especially when you get to 40 years old. And I’ve been there before – I’ve been there at 40 as well, so I know a bit. That’s why I think Fernando arrives in the best of his talent and his peak of performance.”

‘If you’re as competitive as him, you won’t have problems’

Alonso’s long history in Formula 1 has seen him endure tumultuous times with various teams, notably at McLaren in 2007, which led to his departure from the team. After a stint at Ferrari he surprisingly returned to join McLaren-Honda, where he never spared the Japanese manufacturer’s blushes regarding the shortcomings of their early V6 hybrid turbo power units.
However De la Rosa believes Alonso is a strong team player, as long as he perceives that those around him are as highly motivated to succeed as he is.
“I don’t think that Fernando is a difficult guy to handle,” De la Rosa said. “He’s just very genuine, very honest. The fact that English is not his native tongue sometimes makes him a bit harsh when he tries to describe things, but he’s very honest.
“What he tells you is what he feels about the car, about the team, about how to be competitive. So as long as you always tell him exactly what’s going on and what is the truth, you will never have a problem with him.
“But the moment you try to hide information or he feels that you are trying to keep some information aside, you will have problems. He’s just a very competitive individual – that’s the reality. If you are as competitive as him, you won’t have any problem with Fernando.”
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SpaFrancorchamps (@spafrancorchamps)
14th October 2022, 7:54
No surprise from Pedro as he has always functioned as Fernando’s PA.
It is probably true though. Verstappen and Hamilton are in a league of their own. But if Alonso were driving a Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes I think he’d be up there too. It’s a shame he has such an ugly character that no top team wants to be associated with him anymore.
RBAlonso (@rbalonso)
14th October 2022, 8:13
I’m not sure his character has much to do with it @spafrancorchamps. Vettel and Ricciardo have lovely personalities, they’re still off the grid next year. I tend to think Alonso has joined teams for the right reasons and when he’s left they’ve been in the same place for years after. The dynamic of top teams have always focused on one superstar – once Hamilton was set at Mercedes and RB and SF set up junior programmes there was very little way in once you’d been out.
Broderick Harper (@banbrorace)
14th October 2022, 16:26
I was someone very critical of Alonso’s behaviour in 2007 – but he would have been fine under Toto.
It would have been great to have him at Ferrari when they finally got a good care in 2017/18 as he’d have given Hamilton a bigger run for his money.
Puzling how anyone puts him in a Top 5. He, Lewis and Max are clearly miles above the standard of the rest
RBAlonso (@rbalonso)
14th October 2022, 8:21
Naturally it’s totally subjective but I’d argue Alonso is still top 5 at the very least. Max is supreme, Lewis’ record is incredible although errors are creeping in. Charles is rapid but there are still mistakes and the team need to help better. Charles in Alonso’s Ferrari team for 2012/3 would’ve been a lot closer to the title this year than they were. Lando looks great but still is too jovial for me in the wet. Maybe that’s a team radio perception issue but there’s improvement there for him. Russell, like Lando, needs to prove himself consistently at the highest level.
Alonso’s issue this year has been his final q run. It’s lost him a few places on weekends where he should be higher. But he’s still capable of Canada quali results. I’d have him fighting Charles for top 3 with a bit of a gap to the next group.
hje
14th October 2022, 15:03
It’s not really about his Q3 performance, because most of the times he is already showing his maximum pace in Q2.
Let’s take a look at some stats, average improvement between Q2 and Q3, all season, dry sessions only:
– LEC 0,71% (14 times, median: 0,65%, best: Spain 1,52%, worst: Belgium 0,00%)
– VER 0,50% (14 times, median: 0,59%, best: Italy 1,18%, worst: Hungary -1,44%)
– SAI 0,47% (13 times, median: 0,56%, best: Japan 1,20%, worst: Australia -1,20%)
– PER 0,40% (12 times, median: 0,32%, best: France 0,85%, worst: Bahrain 0,10%)
– BOT 0,33% (5 times, median: 0,31%, best: Spain 0,56%, worst: Bahrain 0,17%)
– average 0,27%
– RUS 0,20% (13 times, median: 0,25%, best: Hungary 0,99%, worst: Bahrain -1,06%)
– HAM 0,20% (12 times, median: 0,21%, best: Netherlands 0,60%, worst: Bahrain -0,21%)
– OCO 0,16% (7 times, median: 0,25%, best: Saudi Arabia 0,58%, worst: Monaco -0,70%)
– NOR 0,14% (9 times, median: 0,30%, best: France 0,80%, worst: Japan -0,59%)
– MSC 0,09% (3 times, median: 0,08%, best: Austria 0,21%, worst: Netherlands -0,03%)
– VET 0,04% (3 times, median: 0,11%, best: Azerbaijan 0,17%, worst: Monaco -0,16%)
– ALO 0,04% (9 times, median: 0,09%, best: Monaco 0,61%, worst: Bahrain: -0,63%)
– RIC -0,05% (4 times, median: -0,05%, best: Australia 0,12%, worst: Hungary -0,23%)
– MAG -0,06% (4 times, median: -0,01%, best: Spain 0,16%, worst: Bahrain -0,38%)
– GAS -0,11% (5 times, median: 0,18%, best: Miami 0,49%, worst: Bahrain -0,77%)
– ALB -0,15% (1 time, Belgium)
– TSU -0,27% (4 times, median: 0,09%, best: Azerbaijan 0,31%, worst: Netherlands -1,58%)
– STR -0,76% (1 time, Miami)
I think we can clearly see similarities between ALO and drivers that have to go full beans to get through into Q3, like Vettel, early season Magnussen, Schumacher and Ricciardo. There is no situation like with top2 teams, who always hides their pace just a little bit more in Q2, same with Mercedes duo + Ocon + Norris (who always manages to find just a bit more in Q3).
This means ALO doesn’t have problems with Q3 performance, he simply puts everything he has in Q2 – and then cannot have even more in Q3, as he already showed maximum pace available.
Not to mention he has 4th worse progression between free practises and best qualifying laptime, at 0,87%.
Data don’t lie, unlike Fernando himself.
Sam
14th October 2022, 8:40
Verstappen, Hamilton, Alonso and Leclerc would be my special drivers. Maybe it is too early to be sure Leclerc is in that group but he has done what he needs against all his team mates so far.
jff
14th October 2022, 8:55
As much as Leclerc is a great driver/talent, his progress the past few years has been somewhat limited.
I’m not sure what the final pecking order will be between Leclerc, Norris, and Russell
Proesterchen (@proesterchen)
14th October 2022, 9:06
Hard to square Fred being top-3 with being behind Esteban in the same car.
jff
14th October 2022, 10:40
So there is only one name missing 😉
And I assume that is the top 3 of all time.
G
14th October 2022, 11:42
Alonso has had rotten luck don’t forget. Just like Lewis, he was down a lot of points early on in the season.
MichaelN
14th October 2022, 11:53
There’s a case to be made for sure. Top three means there are two others in there, these are obvious: Hamilton and Verstappen. Vettel has trailed off too much to be among them, even if he was definitely there before. His best moments are still excellent, but they are increasingly few and far between.
Other candidates that might push Alonso out? I suspect few would argue for Zhou, Bottas, Stroll, Albon, Magnussen, Schumacher, Ricciardo, Latifi, Gasly and Tsunoda. And at the front of the grid Pérez, Russell and Sainz can’t keep up with their teammates.
That leaves Ocon and Leclerc. Ocon’s position is strong, but you have to consider all the setbacks Alonso has had in the races this year. Still, Ocon is probably closer to Alonso than he would like. Leclerc is seriously fast, but there doesn’t seem to be much of an upwards trend to his development. He’s always been very fast, but his poles to win ratio (18:5) is troublesome. For comparison, Verstappen’s is 18:32, Vettel’s is 57:53, Hamilton’s is 103:103, and Alonso’s is 22:32.
Imre (@f1mre)
14th October 2022, 12:08
Norris?
MichaelN
14th October 2022, 13:05
Good call, I missed Norris having lumped Ricciardo in with the back of the field. Norris and Sainz time together doesn’t suggest Norris is right up there at the very top, but he’s certainly been impressive on numerous occasions.
Next year will be interesting for him. He’ll have to beat one of the highest-rated rookies in years.
slowmo (@slowmo)
14th October 2022, 13:11
Norris frequently got the best of Sainz and had more of the bad luck in their time together. For me both Russell and Norris are better than Alonso now. Alonso from 2012 maybe not, but this is not the same as the one driving now. Leclerc is also likely better than Alonso but I concede he is error prone.
Qeki (@qeki)
14th October 2022, 13:55
Why does the Jaguar picture look like the person is mix with De La Rosa, Webber, Klien and Sato
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