Fernando Alonso rolls on with mission ’33’ and is in the best position of any non-Red Bull driver to claim a victory which would re-write the F1 history books.
Alonso is regarded by many as one of the top talents to have graced the Formula 1 scene, and certainly one of the most complete drivers currently active in the series.
Two world titles on his CV back that up, though Alonso during his career has not always made the best choices when it comes to moving between teams.
No matter, as his latest one is proving to be a masterstroke, Alonso leaving Alpine behind for Aston Martin, who went from striving to become a midfield leader like Alpine, to skipping the queue as current ‘best of the rest’ behind Red Bull.
Alonso then has not been this close to the winning scene in Formula 1 since his Ferrari days, and indeed, the calendar has now flicked past 10 years since Alonso last took to the top step of the podium, when he drove his Ferrari to victory at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.
Now, a home race win would for many drivers would be perfectly acceptable to cap a career, but not for Alonso. After four P3 finishes from five grands prix so far in F1 2023, being the supporting act on the podium is no longer enough.
That 33rd career victory which has eluded Alonso for so long is the one he craves, though in a season so far completely dominated by Red Bull, while that achievement feels so close, in a way it is yet still so far.
Alonso then will probably need a helping hand to take the chequered flag once more, but it does not necessarily need to be Red Bull handing him the win on a silver platter, indeed the ideal circuit could be what tips the scales in Alonso’s favour.
“I would say the slower speeds of the championship,” Alonso told Sky Sports F1 when asked where victory could come in F1 2023. “Let’s say Monaco, Budapest, Singapore.
“This kind of circuit I think we put our main hopes at the moment.”
The Monaco Grand Prix is the obvious standout, a venue which rewards driver bravery and precision like perhaps no other, and where that game-changing DRS system on the Red Bull RB19 will play less of a pivotal role.
So, if Alonso claims P1 in Monaco, or wherever his barren spell may end, if it happens, then he will simply shatter the record for the longest streak between Formula 1 victories.
As previously mentioned, Alonso is now north of 10 years since he last won at the 2013 Spanish GP, and for comparison, the longest existing example belongs to Riccardo Patrese, who went six years, six months and 28 days between winning the 1983 South African Grand Prix and the 1990 San Marino GP.
The only other driver to have gone more than six years between wins is McLaren’s founder Bruce McLaren, with a gap of six years and six days separating his Monaco 1962 and Belgium 1968 wins.
But when discussing the scenario where a driver is victorious again after such a long wait, the one which truly comes to mind is Kimi Raikkonen’s hilarious reaction when he snapped his own unwanted streak.
Having not won since the 2013 season-opener, Raikkonen’s wait went all the way to the 2018 United States GP, and after claiming his 21st and final grand prix win, he would exclaim on the radio: “F**king finally!”
There will never be another one like Kimi Raikkonen, but expect similar relief plus grand celebrations should Alonso secure career victory number 33, and a set a record which really would take some serious beating.