Fernando Alonso has warned Sebastian Vettel against underestimating what it takes to mount a successful return to F1 after the four-time World Champion left the door open to a comeback.
Vettel brought the curtain down on his glittering career at the end of the 2022 season, with Alonso moving from Alpine to take the German’s seat at Aston Martin.
Alonso has finished on the podium at exactly half of the 14 races held so far this season, with Aston Martin breaking through F1’s glass ceiling to regularly challenge the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso responds to Sebastian Vettel F1 comeback talk
Last month, Vettel insisted he has been left pleased for Aston Martin and Alonso – but confessed he would have found the transition into retirement easier had the team’s 2023 car been “total rubbish.”
Earlier this week, the 36-year-old refused to dismiss the possibility of an F1 comeback, claiming any decision would “depend on the challenge” offered to him.
Vettel’s revelation came a matter of days after Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, who worked closely alongside him during his peak years, claimed F1’s youngest-ever World Champion is not yet finished as a driver.
Alonso – who duelled with Vettel for the World Championship in 2010 and 2012 – took two years out of F1 before making a successful comeback with Alpine in 2021, having enjoyed success with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship.
With the likes of Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo all returning to F1 with varying degrees of success in recent times, the Spaniard has warned Vettel to avoid underestimating the challenge.
When asked if he was surprised by Vettel’s comments, Alonso told media in Singapore: “I was not in the interview or in the conversation, so sometimes we read the headline and you don’t know exactly what it comes from and what is the tone of the answers.
“So it’s up to him, obviously, if he thinks about [it]. As I said when Daniel came back, it is a challenge. It cannot be underestimated going back to F1.
“It could be a challenge, for sure.”
This weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix marks four years since Vettel’s last F1 win, achieved in the penultimate season of his six-year stay at Ferrari, where he replaced Alonso in 2015.
When asked at April’s Australian GP if Vettel had retired too soon given Aston Martin’s strong start to the season, Alonso openly doubted whether the German would have enjoyed a similar level of success in 2023.
He said: “I don’t know if he could have made the Aston Martin that fast, so you never know.”