The number 33 holds significance in multiple ways for Fernando Alonso this weekend as he chases victory on home soil, with Max Verstappen part of the equation.
Alonso’s most recent victory to date in Formula 1 came at the venue which Formula 1 has descended on for Round 7 of the F1 2023 season, that being the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
It was back in 2013 though when Alonso last took the chequered flag here in the colours of Ferrari, and ever since, that 33rd career victory has eluded the Spaniard.
Monaco came and went without an Alonso victory, that seen as comfortably his best chance so far, though he did manage to improve on his run of P3s with a P2 finish that time around, albeit 28 seconds behind the dominant Verstappen.
Interestingly, 33 is the number which Verstappen originally raced with in Formula 1, and would return to if and when he is no longer the reigning World Champion, having taken up the option to race with the number ‘1’ as a result of his two World title successes.
With Verstappen very much the leading force then in Formula 1, that adds an extra layer to mission ’33’ for Alonso, though on top of these omens and the return to the scene where an Alonso win last happened, the 2023 Spanish GP has another to offer.
That is because on top of all that, Alonso, his Aston Martin AMR23 and the crew will be operating out of garage number 33 this weekend!
Fernando Alonso is using garage #33 this weekend.
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 1, 2023
The signs then really are working in Alonso’s favour, but what seemingly is not is the relentless force which he must beat.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is regarded as a solid all-round test for Formula 1 cars, and Verstappen’s dominant Friday showing, having been over eight-tenths clear of the closest non-Red Bull car in FP1, and almost a second up on Alonso, suggests Red Bull could be at their strongest yet this season here in Barcelona.