Stefano Domenicali has heaped praise on Fernando Alonso, saying that Formula 1 is “in his blood” and believing that he would still win in a competitive car.
Alonso left Alpine at the end of a season where he still showed his speed and mettle, but bemoaned six retirements which he feels cost him upwards of 60 points as he finished behind Esteban Ocon in the Drivers’ Championship.
The Spaniard, who now holds the outright record for the highest number of race starts in Formula 1 history, still holds onto hope of earning a third World title eventually, though he admits this is may not be possible with Aston Martin next year.
Lauding the long-held relationship he has with Alonso and his continued passion for the sport while speaking to Marca, Domenicali, his former team principal at Ferrari, said: “You can talk about everything. I think the important thing for me is that Fernando stays in F1. He is super motivated.
“Also, this year he has shown that age is not a problem. He is a very competitive driver, very strong in the head, very professional.
“It is also a pleasure for me to see that in Spain, F1 has become important again with Carlos, with Fernando.
“Fernando doesn’t surprise me at all, because Fernando has the sport of Formula 1 in his blood. He manages to have a continuous motivation.
“Even when he left F1 he was already thinking about coming back. Now, obviously, he deserves the place he has, and I wish he has a competitive car because with a competitive car, Fernando is ahead.”
Will Aston Martin gamble pay off for Fernando Alonso?
Alonso’s move across to Aston Martin has been done with the aim of getting him back towards the front of Formula 1, with the team investing heavily in its future.
With PlanetF1 having visited the site of their new factory, which is due to be open to staff from May 2023, Aston Martin say it will be a key step forward in how they operate moving forward, with infrastructure to back up the increase in the number of staff they have hired in recent years.
Alonso’s hope, then, is that the team can make the steps forward they are looking to make while he is behind the wheel, and he will have at least the next two years to try and get back to the front and, if he does so, earn that elusive third title.
Given his performances at Alpine in 2022, he has shown no signs of slowing down – so it is hard to disagree with Domenicali that the team will have one of Formula 1’s best in their garage next season.