The secret to Fernando Alonso’s success revealed as he approaches 42nd birthday

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso smiling on the podium with the P2 trophy. Canada June 2023

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso smiling on the podium with the P2 trophy. Canada June 2023

Le Mans winner Richard Bradley says the dynamics of being a racer means supreme fitness is allowing Fernando Alonso to continue operating at his peak into his 40s.

Alonso made his return to Formula 1 in 2021 and naturally comparisons were made to seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, who could not reach his level of years past as he made that comeback in his 40s.

That has not been an issue at all though for Alonso, who at the age of 41 continues to operate arguably still at his very highest level, currently spearheading Aston Martin’s pursuit of P2 in the Constructors’ Championship after making the move from Alpine for F1 2023, while he is also hunting down Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for P2 in the Drivers’ standings.

Alonso then is proving that age is merely a number, and speaking during the On Track GP podcast, produced in collaboration between PlanetF1.com and DR Sports, Bradley responded to host Joe Ashman likening Alonso to football icon Cristiano Ronaldo as athletes who defy that usual drop-off age.

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Bradley explained that unlike sports such as football, racing drivers do not contend with as much pressure being placed on their joints throughout their career, meaning fitness is more the key asset to staying on the top of your game, which is where Alonso is excelling.

“I mean, the thing is with driving a racing car, compared to something like football or rugby say, is you don’t have much pressure going through your joints,” said Bradley.

“So you don’t get the muscle pains or lose that little bit of running speed, which is what happens with footballers.

“Formula 1 and racing cars as a whole, the only thing that’s going to slow you down is as your reactions deplete and so to be honest, yeah, as long as you keep yourself fit enough, you could keep going for a long time.

“I mean, Alonso is 42 [sic], but he seems to be just as good as he used to be.

“You can’t see any stop to it, he just keeps going. He reminds me almost as you say of a Ronaldo or a [Zlatan] Ibrahimović, someone like they.”

Heading into the Austrian Grand Prix, Alonso is now only nine points behind Perez in the Drivers’ standings despite Red Bull’s dominant start to F1 2023, with Perez currently going through a major dip in form. The Red Bull driver is without a Q3 appearance or podium finish in his last three outings.

Alonso meanwhile has been runner-up to Perez’s Championship-leading team-mate Max Verstappen in two of the past three races.