Fernando Alonso reveals how he ‘got better’ as a driver during Formula 1 sabbatical

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso up close in the AMR23. Britain July 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso up close in the AMR23. Britain July 2023

Fernando Alonso has said trying new racing categories in his time away from Formula 1 meant he “got better” when he stepped back into the sport.

The two-time World Champion took a two-year sabbatical from Formula 1 after a tough stint with McLaren before returning with Alpine in 2021, looking as fast as ever in the process.

His move to Aston Martin in time for 2023 proved to be an inspired one too, taking six podiums in 10 races so far this year as he holds onto third place in the Drivers’ standings, only behind the dominant Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

Fernando Alonso responds to fan questions on ‘El Plan’ and more

Sat alongside friend, former F1 driver and Aston Martin ambassador Pedro de la Rosa, Alonso was presented with a series of fan questions in Aston Martin’s content series ‘A Pitstop With’, presented by Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% – and was first asked about what the long-running social media craze following him, ‘El Plan’, means – and how it has evolved.

“I think it was a way of saying, you know, Fernando came back to Formula 1, just with a plan to win again,” Alonso said.

De la Rosa then added: “So maybe it was El Plan, but now it’s ‘La Mision’ [‘The Mission’], and then now it’s ‘33’,” in reference to the number of race victories Alonso would achieve with his next P1 finish.

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De la Rosa added his praise for how Alonso has developed in his career to date, before Alonso himself added his belief that his time away from Formula 1 actively made him a better driver upon his return.

Alonso took on different motorsport challenges in that time, twice winning the Le Mans 24 Hours and also competing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Dakar Rally.

“The most incredible thing about you, Fernando, is that you are the leader, you lead by example,” De la Rosa said to his compatriot.

“It’s a key – this is not easy. And now when he has arrived at Aston Martin, I think he’s such a complete athlete.”

“I got better,” Alonso added with a smile. “Better endurance, and I have experience in different categories, not only Formula 1.

“I think you understand many other important things as a driver that you need to put in the team.”

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