Alpine’s Fernando Alonso sees no reason why he cannot add a third championship to his collection after his successful return to Formula 1 last season.
Alonso scored points on 15 occasions in 2021 having returned from a two-year hiatus from the pinnacle of motorsport, and out-qualified team-mate Esteban Ocon 11 times while out-performing the same number of times in race trim.
The Spaniard also claimed his 98th career podium when he finished third in Qatar, and he might have made it 99 in Melbourne this year had it not been for an oil seal failure in qualifying when he looked set for pole, followed by an unfortunately timed Safety Car in the race that put him out of the points.
Alonso claimed 32 wins in F1 between 2003 and 2013 with Renault, McLaren and Ferrari, claiming the championship in 2005 and 2006 with the Enstone-based team.
He came agonisingly close to the title in 2007 with McLaren while embroiled in a fierce intra-team battle with Sir Lewis Hamilton, and again in 2010 and 2012 with Ferrari, losing out to Sebastian Vettel both times.
The 40-year-old’s performance does not seem to have dwindled at all since his last victory at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, so he believes he has another title left in him.
“I think so, that’s why I keep racing, you know?” he told Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz at his karting track in Oviedo, where he was filming with Ocon as well as MotoGP riders Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales.
“There is still always the hope that one year you will have the package and you will have all things together to fight for the championship. I still feel competitive and I’m fast.”
As for finding the right team at the right time, the double world champion confirmed that he would be happy to go to a top team like Red Bull or Ferrari knowing that he would not be a number two driver.
“Yeah, sure. I think at the end of the day there are not many number one, two drivers in any team right now,” added Alonso.
“All the teams need both drivers to work together and to improve the car, especially with the new regulations.
“You still learn every lap you do and you have to work towards a better car, a better package. So let’s see what are the possibilities into the next few years.”
Alonso is out of contract at the end of this season, and Renault CEO Luca de Meo has not made any promises regarding the Spaniard’s future, so the mind begins to wander, and the former Ferrari driver has been tenuously linked with a sensational move to Red Bull.
However, Christian Horner, team principal at the Austrian outfit, is very happy with his line-up of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, although he did of course express his respect for the 32-time race winner.
“That’s news to me!” he said.
“We are very happy with the drivers we’ve got here. Fernando’s a great driver, it’s fantastic he’s still in Formula 1 and given the plus 40 [years of age].
“He’s something to aspire to, but he doesn’t fit part of our plans.”
Alonso grabbed his first points since the first round last weekend in Barcelona when he finished P9 having started all the way down in last.