Putting childlike imagination into play, perhaps it may not be particularly horrid to say that even when he’s sixty or in his mid fifties, Fernando Alonso could be that guy who challenges a group of thirty somethings for a 2-kilometre cycle race and manages to outdo most in a pack.
Imagine a scenario. We are the noted Palacio de los Condes de Toreno, in Oviedo, Fernando Alonso’s native place in Spain. At the expanse of the absorbingly beautiful Baroque building is a massive open space, a square replete with free empty spaces.
It’s here where a group of cyclists, properly decked in their biking gear are amid a close-knit discussion moments from departing for a group tour. Then, all of a sudden, a long locked dude sporting a lion-esque mane emerges from the backdrop, rests his hand over the shoulder of the lead cyclist in that group and says, “Hola, up for a quick two-km race on your bike?”
And minutes after, he manages to, at least, break into the final three, having successfully blanked some into oblivion, with the group thinking just who was this over-aged dude that gave them fitness goals?
But that’s the kind of character Fernando Alonso is. Someone who is always up for a fight, particularly speaking, on the terse and twisty layout called the tarmac. Someone who will not go down, without a fight.
But most importantly, someone who has emerged, over the course of a nearly two-decade career in Formula 1, as a paragon of what is meant by “Never Say Die!”
In a couple of months’ time, Fernando Alonso will be 41, to be precise. He is already, with Raikkonen having called time on his career, the most experienced driver on the current grid.
He’s someone who went away from the pinnacle of Motorsport, but not before doing donuts at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of 2018, for no fewer than two years.
He was 37 back then.
Then last year, aged 39, Fernando Alonso broke into the top three; his magnificent P3 at the Qatar Grand Prix, a first for Formula 1, signalling the fact that he was far from being over.
How many have you seen standing on the podium at an age where you’d feel they are better off as being advisors to F1 teams instead of putting up a relentless fight after the visors go down?
But more importantly, ever since his return to the top annals of Grand Prix racing, the man from Asturias has achieved 81 points in his comeback year, which is a mark of massive improvement; in his final two McLaren seasons, he was able to score 67 cumulatively.
And rather impressively, at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, he managed to fend off a marauding Lewis Hamilton for nearly four back to back laps, as if he’d lent his unputdownable energy into powering that Alpine against what was a rip roaring Mercedes.
In doing all of that, he’s instilled much-needed impetus and power in a lineup that aims to be the top draw in what is a packed Formula 1 midfield as seen currently.
That Alpine are likely to- but haven’t as yet- sign up Alonso for another two years could mean one thing and one thing alone; that they are banking on the might and experience of a true titan of racing. Moreover, the Fernando Alons0-Esteban Ocon pairing has already delivered the goods for a sparkling midfielder augurs well for the team’s future, the unit experiencing good balance so far.
That being told, when asked recently what he felt about his motivation level and how he feels motivated to stay in the sport, here is what the Spanish Samurai had to say:
“I feel better than the others. When someone comes and I see that [they are] beating me on pure abilities, I see that I’m not good anymore at the starts, I’m not good in preparing the car, or the other side of the garage is one second faster than me and I cannot match those times, maybe I’ll raise my hand and say: ‘You know, this is time for me you know to think about something else. But at the moment, I feel the opposite. I love racing.”