Bringing Fernando Alonso back into Formula 1 is not a gamble with Renault advisor Alain Prost saying the Spaniard has a new “philosophy”.
A double World Champion and the winner of 32 grands prix, there is no doubting Alonso’s talent, speed or ability out on the race track.
However, it is off the track where the Spaniard has had a few problems.
He spent just one year with McLaren in his first stint with the Woking team, in the thick of the spygate saga and reportedly threatening to blackmail team boss Ron Dennis.
In his second stint with McLaren, he earned the ire of then engine partner Honda when he lambasted the Japanese manufacturer’s power unit during their home race, calling it a “GP2 engine”.
Such was the fall-out that Honda allegedly would not allow any of its IndyCar teams to sign Alonso for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Walking away from Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season, often citing his disillusionment with the sport, Alonso continued to be linked to several F1 teams, one of which was Red Bull.
Team boss Christian Horrner made it abundantly clear that would never happen.
“Fernando tends to cause chaos wherever he goes,” the Brit said last September. “I am not sure that it is the healthiest thing for the team for him to join us.”
Months later, Renault announced it had taken that gamble, signing Alonso in a multi-year deal.
Prost is confident any issues that the Spaniard had in the past have been laid to rest.
Having spoken with Alonso “many times”, he feels the driver has benefitted from his two years away from the Formula 1 grid.
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) July 8, 2020
“What happened with Fernando and different teams was my biggest problem and question mark,” the Frenchman told Reuters.
“I talked to Fernando many times about that.
“I really trust him that he’s going to have another philosophy.
“Two years outside Formula One in my opinion was maybe not bad for him to have a different feeling, different view.
“He knows what he’s going to get in terms of performance of the car, he knows that 2021 is also going to be a little bit difficult.
“He’s prepared for that … I really think he’s going to be very different than people understand.”