Upon the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of 2018, Fernando Alonso was out of F1. He did the donuts, parked the car on the side, took off his gloves and put the sport behind him.
Post-2018, the double world champion who halted Schumacher’s assault on the grid was no more a Formula 1 Grand Prix driver.
Two years later, he returned to the top flight of Motor Racing and became the key lynchpin of pushing Alpine towards north of the Constructors Standings.
He even scored a podium in F1’s first-ever Qatar Grand Prix.
Earlier this year, he found a way to go second fastest in the final qualifying run at Canada, surprising Verstappen and the Ferraris in the process.
Who expected an Alpine to be in a front row start to an F1 Grand Prix?
Then came the next-best moment, as Fernando Alonso became the driver to race most laps in F1 history upon completing the opening three laps at Circuit Paul Ricard, home to the French Grand Prix.
And now, he’s secured a multi-year contract with Aston Martin. He’ll be joining the team from 2023 onwards.
To many in F1, life may certainly seem uninspiring and insipid at 40.
But for Fernando Alonso, 41, it’s still very much bright and upbeat.
It feels as though the Oviedo-born is just getting started.
The man revered as the Spanish Samurai isn’t going anywhere.
Well, at least, not as of now!
Not long after four time world champion Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from
the sport, questions began to rise about who might capture the vacant Aston Martin seat.
But after several hours of guesswork, conjecture and brave name calling, the realm of Motorsport finally has an answer.
Memes have already begun swimming over social media where, in lighter vein, they’re talking about Aston Martin’s 2023 line up showing a baby-faced Lance Stroll, perhaps in a pic from his childhood years, posing with Fernando Alonso.
Though in reality, the British racing team’s forthcoming line-up is poised to be one that has exuberance and experience as its driving forces.
But you’ve got to appreciate the underlying hardcore reality of F1; that beyond backbreaking speed and dizzying laps or last lap overtakes, the sport is about pure performance.
And with 41 points already in 2022, including consecutive finishes at Canada, Great Britain, Austria, France and Hungary- Alonso is proving his doubters wrong and his fans go wild with his remarkable consistency.
So why wouldn’t he deserve a new F1 seat even as many would simply want the old guards to retire and run away from the circuits after a certain age?
That being said, Alonso expressed his excitement about the new F1 team in no uncertain terms:
“I have known Lawrence and Lance for many years and it is very obvious that they have the ambition and passion to succeed in Formula One. I have watched as the team has systematically attracted great people with winning pedigrees, and I have become aware of the huge commitment to new facilities and resources at Silverstone.“
Surely, anyone doubting that the 2023 F1 season for Aston Martin, now that Vettel will no longer be around, would turn dull can take their words back.
One old guard is replacing another. And guess what? This one isn’t done just yet.