F1 Twotime champion Alonso says in a good moment39; for young

F1 Twotime champion Alonso says  in a good moment39; for young

How F1 sprint could deliver mega seven corners – and a "dull" GP Fri, 16 Jul 2021 13:00:00 +0100-Fernando Alonso will celebrate his 40th birthday later this month, but the F1 returnee believes the future of the sport is in good hands, as he lavished praise on …


Two-time champion Alonso says F1 in a ‘good moment’ for young talent

Fernando Alonso will celebrate his 40th birthday later this month, but the F1 returnee believes the future of the sport is in good hands, as he lavished praise on young racers such as George Russell and Lando Norris ahead of the British Grand Prix.

Alonso admitted to feeling “a bit sad” at the previous Grand Prix in Austria, after he pulled off a late pass on Russell for 10th place, depriving the Briton of his first ever points for the Williams team.

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But asked ahead of the start of the Silverstone weekend what he made of the current generation of talent compared to when he first entered the sport in 2001, Alonso – who returned to F1 with Alpine this season – replied: “It's difficult to compare I think. We are definitely in a good moment for the sport.

“I think all the new generation, they have the talent, they have the preparation, they have their academies that help them throughout the different categories and now they have all the tools, the simulator, and very sophisticated engineers… They get very prepared when they get to Formula 1.

2021 Austrian Grand Prix: Russell and Alonso battle in Spielberg

“But I don't know, I think it was in a way similar in the past as well,” Alonso added. “There is always a change of generation, but they need the car as well. We see with Lando [Norris] for example, or George [Russell], they're both young, they're both talented, one is fighting for podiums, and one didn't score any points yet.

“And that's a little bit unfair. And even with Charles [Leclerc], in a way we saw when the Ferrari was winning, Charles was on top of maybe that generation, and now maybe the car is not in that position. So it's quite related to the car and it was in the past as well.”

READ MORE: Ricciardo insists he has 'no regrets' about leaving Red Bull despite their championship-leading form

Alonso, too, empathised with having the talent without the car to demonstrate it, as he reminisced on the start of his career in the uncompetitive Minardi in 2001.

“I do remember 2001, not being very competitive,” said Alonso. “It's a season that you have to deliver your best performance possible, but at the same time keep your motivation high because every weekend seems the same result, whatever you do, whatever preparation you do.

Alonso knows what it's like to struggle with an uncompetitive car at the start of your career

“Sometimes you're extremely proud and happy with the performance, and some other weekends, you're a little bit disappointed with your own performance, or some mistakes here, but the final result is the same, and from the outside you don’t see any differences.

“So it's the way it is. It's a nice preparation anyway for future events and through difficulties, normally you learn more than from success.”

READ MORE: Red Bull drivers expect competition with Mercedes to be ‘******* close’ at Silverstone

Alonso will participate in a landmark moment for Formula 1 this weekend with the debut of the F1 Sprint format – with the two-time champion saying he was less confident of his Alpine team’s potential this weekend compared to at the Red Bull Ring, where Alonso extended his current points streak to four races.

Fernando Alonso: Change of format with F1 Sprint is 'good for the sport'

“I think we are curious to see how the weekend unfolds,” said Alonso. “It's a different circuit [to the Red Bull Ring], very different circuit characteristics, so we are not maybe as confident as we were in Austria that the car will be performing at that level, but let's wait and see.

“Also the new [F1 Sprint] format will bring some new implications in how you prepare the weekend, the practice – there's only one practice before qualifying, so I don't know if everything will be optimised. It's the same for everybody, but we need to be sharp and we need to be flexible in this FP1.”

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Two-time champion Alonso says F1 in a 'good moment' for young … Fri, 16 Jul 2021 13:00:00 +0100-Formula 1 drivers think the new sprint event could be spectacular for the first seven corners, but risks a later procession and a 'dull' Grand Prix.


How F1 sprint could deliver mega seven corners – and a ‘dull’ GP

March 12, 2021

As the F1 circus braces itself for its first sprint race experiment at this weekend’s British GP, there is still some uncertainty about what kind of impact the format shake-up will have.

But with teams and drivers having worked hard in the build up to Silverstone to better understand the implications, there is some consensus about what they expect to happen.

The first is that fears of a complete lack of action in the sprint, with drivers not willing to risk a good grid position for Sunday’s main event, are unlikely to materialise.

A number of F1 drivers think that there is enough incentive for some to want to push forward – plus the opportunities offered for easy gains in the early stages are huge.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr said: “Honestly, knowing F1 drivers and the way we act in starts on lap ones, I don't think for those first six or seven corners we are going to think too much about Sunday.

“At for least me, I think I'm going to just go for it. But once the race settles down, yes, maybe we start thinking about Sunday.

“I'm just talking from my personal point of view. I don't think on the approach to Turn 3, I'm going to be thinking, ‘Oh it’s the race tomorrow.”


Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

But once the race settles down from that point, then Lewis Hamilton’s earlier prediction of there being a ‘train’ of cars may come true.

Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi said: “For the first few corners you will just think to gain positions. But then for sure you will not risk anything maybe during a race, so no stupid movement during the race.”

One factor that the new sprint format has taken away is the requirement for the top ten drivers in the GP to start on the tyres they qualified on – which has sometimes opened up races.

With everyone now having free choice for the start on Sunday, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll thinks that a big strategic element of the GP could be removed.

“These are different things that we haven’t really experienced before and I think the sprint race could create a mixed up grid for the main race, we will see,” he said.

“It could just be really boring and change nothing. I’m looking forward to something a bit different. Unfortunately with tyres in the main race, it could be more straightforward for everyone in terms of strategy, so that might make the race on Sunday a bit dull. But we will have to wait and see.”


Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Perhaps the biggest implication of the sprint race format is not actually the spectacle on Saturday, but more the impact it has on the rest of the weekend.

With now just a single practice session before Friday evening’s qualifying session, there is much less time for drivers and teams to fine-tune their setups which could mean bigger disparities of performance.

As Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc explained: “FP1 will be crucial. I think it will be pretty busy, but very, very important to try to understand the car and then try to do the setup work before qualifying.”

Valtteri Bottas added: “We only have one session to find the setup, and then you're kind of stuck with it for the rest of the weekend.

“Both me and Lewis, we've been in the simulator earlier this week trying different approaches and I think now we have a pretty good understanding, in theory, how should we start the weekend in terms of setup.”

But no matter how much preparation has been done, and what expectations are for F1’s first Sprint trial, the fact it’s an experiment shows that there is still much uncertainty about what lies ahead this weekend.

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– July 16, 2021
F1 Twotime champion Alonso says in a good moment39; for young

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