Veteran Fernando Alonso explains why F1 drivers are not heroes anymore

F1 News

Fernando Alonso says Formula 1 is easier in the modern era
13 June at 19:00
  • Toby Nixon

42-year-old Fernando Alonso has entered 388 races in his Formula 1 career so far, the most of any driver ever. The Spaniard's career began in 2001, with the lowly Minardi team. Since his debut, Alonso has secured two world titles, won 32 races and has 106 podium finishes. Alonso has tamed F1 cars from multiple generations. He tells The Times: “I remember when I got to Formula 1 20 years ago, the engineer was not able to explain anything to me about the car.” Has Formula 1 lost its glamour and excitement in the last 20 years? The two-time world champion thinks it has slightly but is not considering retirement any time soon.

Fernando Alonso is one of the most recognisable F1 drivers of all time. In his long career, he has driven for Minardi, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari, Alpine and Aston Martin. Speaking to The Times before the Canadian Grand Prix, Alonso explained how drivers prepare differently for a race weekend in the modern era. “We didn’t have simulators, so every track I went to, I had to learn it the day before by walking. Now, drivers are very well prepared, they have 200-300 laps on a circuit that they will race, so they know perfectly every bump, every corner, every kerb," explained Alonso.

'Easier for the drivers of this generation', says Alonso

The motorsport maestro, who has also won the Le Mans 24 Hours twice continued. “It is, in a good way, easier for the drivers of this generation to drive Formula 1 cars. Whereas before it was more heroic. It’s a strange feeling, not a sad one, but I remember when I made my debut and I came to an event, I saw this respect towards me and I was one of those heroes that drove these super-fast cars." 

Alonso prepared 'to mentor' young Formula 1 drivers and team members

Alonso continued by explaining he is prepared to mentor young F1 drivers. He believes that the team is in safe hands and will be led into the future by Lance Stroll. The son of team owner Lawrence hasn't delivered the same results as Alonso during their time as teammates, struggling to finish in the points whilst Alonso was battling the Red Bulls for podiums. But the Canadian has three podiums and one pole position to his name already. In Canada, he finished right behind Alonso. 

The two-time F1 World Champion recently signed a contract meaning he will stay on the grid in 2025 and 2026. But he knows retirement is not far away.

“I know that it will soon arrive again, the moment that I will 100 per cent say ‘bye bye’ to F1 and I don’t know exactly what I will do.” Concluded the Spaniard, who will continue at Aston Martin until the end of 2026.