Alpine F1 driver Fernando Alonso has congratulated Honda on their success following Max Verstappen’s maiden world title with Red Bull.
Honda began supplying Red Bull at the start of 2019 following a largely successful trial year with AlphaTauri, and their power unit powered Verstappen to his first pole position in F1 at that year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
They have now sealed their first championship since 1991, which was won with McLaren’s Ayrton Senna.
Alonso raced with McLaren during all three torrid years of supply from the Japanese manufacturer, and would often make jibes and unsavoury comments about the engine.
He famously labelled it a “GP2” engine at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix – Honda’s home race – before jovially remarking at the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix that it was “much slower than before”.
Alonso ‘happy for Honda’
However, Alonso is more than happy to give credit where it is due, and has congratulated Honda on their success. He spoke of his encounter with Honda sporting director Masashi Yamamoto after the thrilling season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“He was the first person I congratulated in parc ferme, right after Max. I’m happy for Honda,” Alonso told Motorsport-Total.com.
Alonso reckons that Honda owes its recent upturn in form to new and improved leadership.
“I think the management has been changed. They did a good job and brought in the right people. Honda introduced a new philosophy and made it work.”
‘Hopefully they will be back’
The 40-year-old Spaniard is also extremely surprised that Honda have managed to power a championship just four years after the end of their horrific partnership with McLaren.
“When Honda left McLaren, I don’t think they were in a position to dream of winning the World Championship”.
Honda will once again depart from Formula One ahead of 2022, with Red Bull purchasing the intellectual property from the Japanese manufacturer to design and make their own powertrains. Alonso, however, hopes that this is not the last we have seen of Honda.
“It’s a shame Honda is leaving now. But hopefully they will be back.”
Alonso took a two-year break from F1 after his departure from McLaren in 2018, before returning with French outfit Alpine.
He claimed both of his world titles with the Enstone-based team under their previous Renault guise, back in 2005 and 2006.