When Fernando Alonso returned to Formula 1 in 2021 with Alpine, it was unclear exactly how quick the Spaniard would be, having taken time away from the sport.
As it turned out Alonso was as rapid as ever, picking up a podium in Qatar and generally impressing alongside Esteban Ocon.
The Spaniard turned 41 last year but to the shock of people up and down the paddock, signed a multi-year contract with Aston Martin over the summer break to replace the retiring Sebastian Vettel in 2023.
There have been suggestions that at such an advances age, Alonso could begin to slow down during his time with Aston Martin, but his new team principal Mike Krack has backed his new driver to continue racing for the foreseeable future.
“You say that he does not have many years of F1 left but I am not sure he agrees with that,” he told AS newspaper.
“If you have someone with this level of motivation as we have seen with Valentino Rossi, and it’s combined with the motivation, dedication and the physical and mental preparation and his talent and experience, I don’t think it means time is running out.”
Aston Martin have been warned about potential issues with Alonso, who has been very vocal about his discontent during his time with McLaren and Alpine when the car is not up to his standards.
The 41-year-old has suggested that his new employers could be title challengers within a couple of seasons, leaving fans to worry that there could be fireworks, should Aston Martin not be able to match these lofty expectations.
“I’ve only heard good things about him,” said Krack when asked about these expectations.
“You hear stories of course but I like to live my own experience and until now I have only had good relations.
“I don’t expect any problems with Fernando as long as we give him a fast car and we are transparent.”
Alongside Lance Stroll, Alonso will be hoping for a strong season with Aston Martin this year, after the team ended last season strongly.
Once the team got to grips with the major regulation changes, the performance of their car improved dramatically, ending with a point scoring performance in Abu Dhabi in Sebastian Vettel’s final Grand Prix.