Alonso to start a ‘new championship’ at French GP

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso will start "a new Championship" from French Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso has said some updates are coming for him at Alpine, hopefully in time for the French Grand Prix so he can hit reset.

The stage was set for Alonso as he returned to Formula 1 in 2021 with Alpine, the team where he won both of his World Championships in 2005 and 2006 when they were known as Renault.

But so far his return is yet to showcase the Alonso of old. He has been outqualified by his team-mate, Esteban Ocon, at every round since the season-opener in Bahrain, while the Spaniard is yet to finish a race ahead of Ocon in 2021.

To help his adaptation to life at Alpine though, the team have some upgrades lined up, focusing in particular on the power steering.

Alonso told Mundo Deportivo he “will be able to be more competitive and get the most out of the car” with these modifications, but they likely will not be in place for Baku.

Instead, Alpine seem to be waiting until Formula 1 has moved away from the street circuits, so the French Grand Prix is where we will see these changes introduced, allowing Alonso to start a “new championship” from there.

“I think it will be more for when it’s not a street circuit. Baku would not be a good time,” said Alonso.

“In this sense, the beginning of the championship is not the best possible calendar. There was Imola, Portimao, two circuits where I haven’t driven for many years or never like Portimao and the rest of the drivers had driven there a few months ago in the last championship.

“And then two street circuits, Monaco and Baku. So the first six races of the championship have been a tough challenge to get used to. So from France, I am looking forward to a new championship for me.

“And from the steering wheel point [power steering] I hope to have something that allows me to feel a bit better the balance of the car and to be able to have better feedback than I feel now.”

Fernando Alonso
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Alonso, along with Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo, are the drivers still struggling to adapt to life the most at their new teams.

Race starts have, though, been a strength for Alonso in recent rounds, including gaining two places off the line in Monaco, so he is going “in the right direction in this area”.

However, what he is struggling to figure out is the inconsistency across a weekend. In fact, he spoke to Perez about it after the Mexican went from topping the opening practice session in Monaco to P9 on the grid come the end of qualifying.

“We will see in the following races. I don’t think it’s a matter of luck because there is something that affects more people, people at the back in FP2, people in FP3, in Q2… a lot of people,” he told Cadena Cope.

“I spoke to Checo Perez this [Sunday] morning to ask why he was fastest in FP1 and then he’s ninth in Q3. It doesn’t make sense. But then today he was fighting for the podium.

“Why are all these variables happening during a weekend? It’s not a question of luck. We have to understand that.

“But I’m not worried. I have been strong all weekend compared to the first weekends and am happy and have been stronger in the race when in qualifying [at Monaco] nothing worked.

“There are still 18 races left in the championship and we will do the math in December and not now.”

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