Fry ranks Alonso among top four drivers in F1

Henry Valantine
Fernando Alonso walks in a cap and mask. Barcelona February 2022.

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso walks through the paddock during pre-season running. Barcelona February 2022.

Alpine technical director Pat Fry ranked Fernando Alonso as still being among the elite in Formula 1, putting him in the top four drivers in his opinion.

After taking a few races to get back up to speed after a two-season absence from Formula 1, Alonso looked as fast as ever while driving for Alpine, out-scoring team-mate Esteban Ocon over the course of the year and taking his first podium since his return in Qatar.

Alonso has spoken of his high hopes for the season ahead after the mass regulation changes in Formula 1, being open with his opinion that the main motivation for him returning to the sport was the hope of the pecking order being shaken up with the potential for him to compete at the front once again, in search of the third World title that has eluded him for so long.

But because of his continued high standards that have continued past his 40th birthday, Fry, who has already spent much of Alonso’s career working with him at McLaren and Ferrari, still rates him among the top drivers in the world.

Fernando Alonso's Alpine during the Barcelona pre-season session. Circuit de Catalunya February 2022.
Fernando Alonso's Alpine on the first morning of the Barcelona pre-season session. Circuit de Catalunya February 2022.

“Fernando is among the top four drivers,” Fry told the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com, but reportedly did not expand on who, if anyone, he would put above the Spaniard in those standings when questioned about it.

Alonso has experienced several significant changes of regulations in his illustrious career in Formula 1, having raced with V10, V8 and V6 hybrid engines alongside a host of different car specifications under which to race, and Fry spoke of the importance of having a driver with such experience lending his support to the process of creating a new car, especially with what he can bring to the table with his prior feedback expertise.

“He helps us to do everything better, all the time, and that’s an encouragement, having driven different types of cars in his Formula 1 career,” said Fry.

“It’s useful to have different opinions when you’re changing to such a different car.”

 

Alpine ran a relatively smooth pre-season shakedown in Barcelona, before a hydraulic issue for Alonso halted their running on the final day – but they had achieved plenty of laps in a relatively low-key time for them in Barcelona.

But with that, Alpine sporting director Alan Permane said the team had been running on heavier fuel, low engine modes and did not use DRS often during the three days in Spain, meaning they should still have plenty in hand heading into the pre-season test in Bahrain and the first race of the season at the same circuit on Sunday 20 March.