“Nobody Has a Crystal Ball”: Fernando Alonso Takes a Sour Trip Down Memory Lane After Momentous Win

Published 11/14/2023, 8:28 AM EST

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In an era of Formula 1 dominated by Max Verstappen, there’s little room for anyone else to grab the spotlight. As the Dutchman breaks record after record, he’s cemented himself as the primary headliner. Well, almost. There’s this certain driver who’s pretty new to F1 who’s taken some of the spotlight from him. Who is it? Fernando Alonso. To rephrase, a certain, 42-year-old Fernando Alonso—who’s in his second F1 stint—has been almost as big a talking point as Verstappen has been. And guess what? It isn’t just on track. The Spaniard is making waves off-court as well, more specifically with GQ Magazine.

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Every year, GQ releases a list of Men of the Year. For all that he’s achieved since his return to F1 in 2021—and especially in 2023—GQ Spain awarded Alonso the ‘Boss Bottled Award’ in its 2023 Men of the Year list. Despite the happy win, he couldn’t help but take a trip down sad memory lane.

Fernando Alonso told GQ about his unfortunate career choices

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Remember how Lewis Hamilton decided he’d move from McLaren to Mercedes in 2013? Everyone thought the then-one-time champion was making the wrong decision. What was the point of going from a proven championship-winning team (even though it was struggling a little) to a team that hadn’t yet established itself in the sport? Hamilton saw the point, and he stuck with his decision. Who saw the six championships that followed coming? What people thought would be the worst move he could make turned out to be the best. Unfortunately, Alonso hasn’t had the same luck.

 

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F1 is a lot about being at the right place at the right time. It worked for Hamilton at Mercedes. It’s working for Verstappen at Red Bull. And, dare I say, it’s (finally) working for Alonso at Aston Martin. Jumping ship from Alpine to Aston Martin was like Hamilton’s move from McLaren to Mercedes. Risky at first, but it ultimately paid off. Aston Martin is the team that’s given Alonso’s F1 career a new lease of life. But the teams that preceded Aston weren’t as kind to him. In his interview with GQ, Alonso said, “The teams are very difficult to choose. Last year no one would have come to Aston Martin, but conditions sometimes happen one way or another, and no one has a crystal ball.” [Translated by Google]

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“When I was at Renault (now Alpine), signing for Ferrari was the logical decision. Although, in retrospect, it seems that you made a mistake. Then when I went to McLaren-Honda it turned out much worse than we expected,” he explained. “After the fact, it is very easy to talk, but you have to be very lucky in the decisions you make. This time it went well, other times it went wrong.” Alonso’s first stint at Renault gave him his two championships. His second stint wasn’t as successful. Alonso’s first stint at McLaren in 2007 was a championship-contending one, while his second was forgettable. And his only tenure at Ferrari wasn’t anything to write home about either.

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Ultimately, all of it led him to Aston Martin—a team that finished in seventh last season but has transformed itself after Alonso’s arrival. But how did the two-time champion agree to drive for the Silverstone outfit?

Lawrence Stroll’s actions made Fernando Alonso seal the deal

When Alonso returned to F1 in 2021, he came intending to win a third title, if not more. After spending a year and a half at Alpine, the Spaniard realized that he’d only remain a two-time champion at Alpine. So when Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement, it opened up a seat at Aston for 2023. Alonso saw that as an opportunity to leave Alpine and started talking to Aston’s owner, Lawrence Stroll. In another interview with GQ, Alonso said, “[Stroll] was very convincing in selling the project and all the new people that were joining.”

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Despite struggling in 2022, Aston Martin was making significant changes in its functioning. “In the design office, there were big names coming from different teams. I saw a lot of talent. There was a big project behind this team, and it was happening. It wasn’t just talk,” Alonso explained. “Facts were supporting Lawrence’s words. I thought it was a logical move for me if I wanted to aim for something higher than my previous team.” So far, it’s worked in Alonso’s favor, and although the team has dropped off in the second half, there are numerous positives to learn from.

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Watch This Story: Will Fernando Alonso & Aston Martin Be a Top F1 Championship Contender Soon?

What did you think about Fernando Alonso joining Aston Martin after the announcement in 2022?

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Written by:

Aditi Krishnan

757Articles

One take at a time

Aditi is a senior F1 writer at EssentiallySports. She fell in love with F1 in 2020. It happened when her brother tuned into that first race weekend in Austria, and she knew right then and there that she had to learn everything she could about the sport.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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