The Alpine driver has been stuck in the midfield for the majority of the season, but there have been positive signs of late by the Spaniard qualifying in the top five in Turkey – the first time he has done so since the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
But Alonso has not been in a position to win a race since 2013, and has not had the machinery beneath him to compete for a long-awaited 33rd race win in Formula 1.
While he admits himself that he’s still finding his way back to his ultimate best and luck has not been on his side at all this year, Mark Webber has described his friend and former rival as still being “a bit of a magician” on track.
However, Alonso feels he would back himself to fight at the front in a more competitive car.
“That’s difficult to answer,” Alonso told F1-Insider when asked if he could win the title in a Mercedes or Red Bull.
“But, yes, I would have the confidence to race for the title. But Lewis and Max are doing a great job in their teams. So there is no clear answer to that.”
Webber on Alonso:
"Has he got that last two tenths that Max and Lewis will have in qualifying? I don’t think so. Has he got the knowledge, the nouse of how to pull a race afternoon together? Unbelievable. The guy is still a bit of a magician."
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) October 12, 2021
Alonso has spoken before about how he feels in some ways that his ability is even better than it was before he left Formula 1, and he also believes that in the potential throes of a battle for the World Championship next season – should Alpine provide a car good enough to do so – he will be prepared for the challenge.
“Mainly because I am more experienced,” he said. “I know better what a car needs to be fast in the race. I can handle pressure better today.
“I also know much better today how to optimally set up and prepare for a race weekend. Not only on the race weekend itself, but also in the time leading up to it.
“It is also important how to get 100 per cent out of the car and the team. That has a lot to do with experience.
“In my comeback year, I learn something new every weekend. For example, I’m not yet perfect in qualifying when it comes to feeling the optimum grip of the tyres.
“I’m maybe at 80 per cent there at the moment. Next year it should be almost perfect.”