Fernando Alonso pleads ‘someone to listen’ over grave F1 rookie driver concerns

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

Fernando Alonso believes the limited track time available for rookies is severely hurting their Formula 1 opportunities and desperately hopes “someone will listen” and address this.

It is generally accepted that the challenge of breaking through onto the Formula 1 grid has become much harder for young drivers in recent years, with the paths of the latest Formula 2 champions proving that point.

Fernando Alonso: Teams finding it ‘impossible’ to prepare young drivers

2021 F2 champion Oscar Piastri was forced to spend a year on the sidelines before getting his chance with McLaren, while his successors Felipe Drugovich and Théo Pourchaire failed to secure an F1 seat off the back of being crowned F2 champion.

The F1 grid is unchanged between the end of 2023 and the start of 2024, a very rare occurrence yet reflective of the times, but rookies like Liam Lawson and Oliver Bearman have shown in that time that F1 debutants can be trusted to come in and perform.

However, Alonso says the budget cap and packed F1 calendar mean it is “impossible” to have the required testing teams that once existed to ready these young drivers, meaning team bosses opt not to take the risk, a situation which Alonso wants to see urgently addressed.

“It will be good to see a little bit more testing happening and there are a couple of the big teams that they can afford to run an old car and set a programme like maybe for F2 drivers,” said Alonso, as per RacingNews365.com.

“[Kimi] Antonelli, I read that he will do a programme this season. Some big teams, they can afford that but [it is] still not proper preparation and testing.

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“This is the way the sport is at the moment and we have so many races and the teams.

“They [teams] are so stressed already with the budget cap and all the personnel that travel and around the world for these 24 races that I think it is quite impossible to set up a test team like in the past to really prepare a young driver.

“And we don’t even have winter testing. Even if you put a rookie in your car, he will have one day and a half [of testing] before starting a World Championship.

“So that probably stops some of the team bosses to really promote a young driver.

“There are many things wrong in the sport and we raise [our] voice sometimes. But hopefully someone [will] listen.”

Two-time World Champion Alonso, aged 42 and statistically the most experienced F1 driver of all-time, is at the other end of the scale as he continues to demonstrate that age is just a number, his Aston Martin team hopeful of signing him to a new contract beyond 2024.

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