Fernando Alonso, a two-time World Champion, has pushed back against the notion that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen played pivotal roles in “building” their success with Mercedes and Red Bull, respectively.
Hamilton’s reign of dominance in Formula 1 concluded in 2021 when Verstappen clinched his maiden World Championship title.
Since then, the Dutch prodigy has exhibited unparalleled prowess, eyeing a record 10th consecutive race victory at the Italian Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s remarkable achievements have placed him on the brink of securing three consecutive world titles, surpassing Alonso’s own tally of two.
Comparisons have been drawn between Verstappen’s current dominance and Hamilton’s era at Mercedes.
Both drivers are destined to be remembered as among the greatest in F1 history, alongside Alonso.
However, the Spaniard declined to attribute his rivals’ success to their influence in “building” their respective teams.
Alonso emphasised that external factors played a more significant role in their triumphs.
“I think this is something that is always said about drivers ‘building’ teams,” Alonso expressed to 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 continued, “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.”
Alonso, whose illustrious F1 career includes numerous near-misses at adding to his two world titles, is now focused on his journey with Aston Martin.
While the 42-year-old has few regrets in his storied career, one missed opportunity weighs heavily on his mind – the inability to secure a world championship for Ferrari.
Reflecting on this, he shared, “I mean if I could change one thing in my career it would be that. At McLaren, we were also very close.
“Only one point.
“But probably we didn’t deserve it by, you know, the way we handled things.
“But in Ferrari, I felt that we did things quite right.
“We were fighting maybe with an inferior car until the end.
“So if I could change one thing in my career, I will probably change that.”