F1 pundit suggests Fernando Alonso guidance means Lance Stroll not seen as threat

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso gives Lance Stroll a pat on the back. Saudi Arabia March 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso gives Lance Stroll a pat on the back. Saudi Arabia March 2023

Anthony Davison has laughed off “devious” Fernando Alonso jokes after he gave Lance Stroll brake balance information in Baku only for the Canadian to go sliding off the track.

But rather than entertain conspiracies that Alonso was trying to trip up his team-mate, the former F1 driver believes the Spaniard was putting his sports car experience to use by working with his team-mate to get a good result for the team.

Lapping behind Lewis Hamilton in the early part of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix with Alonso ahead of Stroll, the latter told Aston Martin to inform his team-mate that he had no intention of attacking him for position.

A short while later Alonso returned the favour by way of information, telling Aston Martin to “tell Lance my brake balance suggestion as I am now. I think it’s good help.”

But with Stroll off the track a few moments there were some on social media who jokingly questioned the double World Champion’s advice to his team-mate.

Davidson admits he was one of those laughing.

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“I just wonder,” he told Sky Sports podcast, “it only dawned on me there because I kind of, when I watched it I did laugh along with everybody else thinking what was he up to there? Or is it he was actually trying to put him off in some way because he knew that was a dodgy brake balance.”

Going onto say with a laugh that it was “Fernando Alonso after all, that devious guy”, Davidson explained he believes the Spaniard, with his wealth of motor racing experience, was actually putting a sports car lesson to play, one in which drivers help their team-mates to get the best result possible.

But, he added, that “obviously” means Alonso doesn’t see Stroll as a threat otherwise.

“It was probably that’s the way he’s been trained, is part of his armoury as a driver,” said the Briton.

“He’s more experienced, not just in terms of age, than anyone out there. He’s more experienced in terms of what he’s done in other forms of motorsport. And I think that’s really interesting and I think it’s playing to his strengths, and also giving him advantages and the team advantages that other drivers just wouldn’t be on their radar to help another.

“Okay it obviously means he doesn’t see Lance as a threat, so if you don’t see him as a threat, like you clearly don’t with your other two team-mates because they’re sharing the same car as you in a sports car and you want the whole thing to carry on going with that same momentum, well let’s help them out here. Because as a unit we can all be better.

“So it’s really interesting for F1 to see this kind of schooling. Taking something from another category, and applying it to F1, the pinnacle of single seater motorsport.

“I think it’s maybe that’s what was going on. It just came to him in that moment as second nature.

“‘Oh I just found something and this is really going to help us as a team be really good if we can keep those two Mercedes behind us. If I can relay that information somehow to Lance, to keep those pesky Mercs behind because as a unit, this will be better.'”

But while some pundits such as Austrian racing driver Walter Lechner Jr. declared after Baku that Alonso “wasn’t always that nice to his team-mates”, the Spaniard insists he was, F1 broadcasters just kept it hidden.

“I had in the past [shared information],” he said as per The Race, “but only some of my radio was broadcast. For whatever reason now, F1 [broadcasting] is kind to me.”

Alonso has made it clear he wants to help Stroll grow into the team leader role at Aston Martin.

He added: “I know that I will be in the sport for a few more years but not many, and he will lead the team for the next 10 or 15 years, so I hope I can help Lance in the next few years.”

He added to Sky Deutschland: “Lance and I try to help the team everywhere and, if we find something in the car that hasn’t been discussed in the strategy meeting, then we pass it on straight away which is our strength and that’s why we are also second in the Constructors’ World Championship.”