Fernando Alonso ‘will not be easy to beat’ for McLaren and Lando Norris in F1 2023

Oliver Harden
Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin in testing. Abu Dhabi November 2022

Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin in testing, photo credit Aston Martin. Abu Dhabi November 2022

A respected Formula 1 observer believes the battle between McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso promises to be among the tastiest rivalries of the 2023 season.

Norris will enter his fifth season at McLaren in 2023, while Alonso is to begin his first in the colours of Aston Martin having replaced four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel over the winter.

Both teams endured a challenging start to F1’s ground effect era in 2022, with McLaren beaten to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship by Alpine, Alonso’s former employers, and Aston Martin finishing a lowly seventh.

With McLaren and Aston Martin expected to fight at the head of the midfield this year, former Williams and Ferrari team manager Peter Windsor feels the battle between the Mercedes customer teams could come down to how Norris fares against ex-McLaren man Alonso.

Speaking via his Twitch stream, he said: “Lando is in an interesting situation now because McLaren, for a start, need to beat Aston Martin.

“Fernando Alonso in an Aston Martin with Mercedes technology will not be easy to beat. It was hard enough for McLaren to try to be Fernando when he was at Alpine.

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“Let’s just see how Fernando Alonso in an Aston Martin with Merc power and technology competes alongside Lando Norris in a McLaren, with not quite as much Merc input but nonetheless the same power unit, and see how they compare and how they go.

“It’ll be an interesting one, really interesting.”

Windsor’s latest comments come after he claimed that Norris could be the leading candidate for a future Ferrari drive if Charles Leclerc eventually succeeds seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.

Norris signed a long-term contract extension with McLaren only a year ago, but Windsor is convinced Ferrari will target Norris as the aftershocks of Hamilton’s retirement play out.

“Let’s say Lewis stops at the end of ‘24 – let’s say ’23 and see how we go – I would imagine Toto [Wolff, Mercedes boss] is going to try and go for Charles Leclerc.

“It would be a mess probably, putting Leclerc with [George] Russell, but if he’s prepared to put Russell with Hamilton, he’s obviously going to be prepared to put him with Charles Leclerc.

“Let’s assume Leclerc went from Ferrari to Mercedes to replace Lewis, which is not a completely stupid assumption, what then would Ferrari do? I think they would go massively all out to get Lando.

“I think Lando has got half a chance at Ferrari.”