Fernando Alonso said there are rare career moments where driver and car connection enters a “mystical region” and performance follows, this happening in 2012 and now in F1 2023.
Alonso has completed his first season as part of the Aston Martin team, one which exceeded expectations as team and driver came flying out of the blocks, jostling for position at the head of the pack looking to reel in the dominant Red Bull team.
The two-time World Champion would finish the campaign with eight podium finishes scored, three of those runner-up results, as he claimed P4 in the Drivers’ Championship.
Fernando Alonso details unique 2012 and 2023 comparison
As the dust now settles on F1 2023, Alonso made an interesting comparison between this campaign and 2012, where he narrowly missed out on the World Championship to Sebastian Vettel, describing these two seasons as his best in F1.
Despite the obvious pleasure to be taken from such a positive first season with Aston Martin, it was easy to be a little confused as to why Alonso would rank F1 2023 as his joint-best season yet in the series, as he now moves to explain why.
Admitting it is hard to truly convey, Alonso said there are fleeting points in a driver’s career where the connection with their machinery enters a “mystical” place and what would logically appear impossible in terms of performance, suddenly is possible, this present for him in both 2012 and 2023.
Asked as part of an Aston Martin in-house interview to explain why he describes 2023 and 2012 as his best F1 seasons, Alonso replied: “There are a couple of moments in your life, in your career, where you connect with the car in a different way.
“It is difficult to explain, but you are at one with the car, you trust the car, you are doing things that initially you thought were not possible: overtaking, or just going through a corner in a way that didn’t sound logical when you first thought about it.
“And then you find yourself doing impossible things with the car on a regular basis. In every practice, in every qualifying session and race. Some of the performances this year, like those in 2012, were in that sort of mystical region, where you can do things that you think are contrary to the laws of physics.
“That’s what makes years like 2023 even more important, even more special, in my life.”
It was pointed out to Alonso that his past F1 career choices when it comes to team swaps did not always work in his favour, his latest move questioned in a similar way with Aston Martin below Alpine in the F1 pecking order at that stage.
It is safe to say that decision has proven to be a masterstroke though, Alonso duly delighted with the results, considering he does not have the luxury of a “crystal ball”.
Asked if he was relieved that this Aston Martin move worked out, Alonso replied: “I was super happy. I felt very lucky with the decision.
“In Formula 1, you never have a crystal ball to anticipate what is going to happen the following year – but when you make the decision, change teams, and then suddenly you’re fighting for podiums, this is one of the best feelings.”
Aston Martin struggled to keep pace with Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren in the F1 2023 development war, ultimately finishing P5 in the Constructors’ Championship, meaning starting strong and maintaining that form will be a key aim of the team for F1 2024.