Ex-F1 Driver Speculates How Alonso-McLaren, Not Verstappen-Red Bull, Would’ve Challenged Lewis Hamilton in 2021

Published 01/02/2022, 9:16 AM EST
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – NOVEMBER 22: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP (L) and Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 (R) talk in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit on November 22, 2018 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)


Once behind the wheel of an F1 car, Fernando Alonso is amongst the most lethal forces on the grid. The 40-year-old currently drives for the Alpine team alongside French driver Esteban Ocon. The Spaniard recently clinched his 98th career podium in the 2021 Qatar GP. Notably, his last podium was back in 2014 for Ferrari, the year before he switched to Mclaren.

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Alonso was a part of the Woking-based outfit for 4 seasons between 2015 to 2018. When Honda returned to the sport in 2015, it became an obvious choice for Mclaren, seeing their successful history. However, it didn’t turn out as rosy this time for the team. The two paired up for three seasons between 2015 to 2017, where Mclaren ended up taking 9th, 6th, and 9th spot in the Constructors’ standings in these years.

Formula One F1 – Qatar Grand Prix – Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar – November 21, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the race alongside second placed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and third placed Alpine’s Fernando Alonso REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/Pool

Notably, Alonso was highly critical of the Japanese engine manufacturer for Mclaren’s poor performance on the track. That criticism seems to be a long time ago now as the Red Bull of Max Verstappen powered by the Honda engine won the drivers’ championship while Mclaren was struggling in the midfield with a Mercedes engine.

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Did Fernando Alonso miss an opportunity to fight Lewis Hamilton?

The Spaniard left Mclaren at the end of the 2018 season after he announced his retirement from F1. However, he made a comeback in 2021 with the Alpine team and managed to put up some highly impressive performances. However, the current situation calls for far-fetched speculation. What would have been the outcome if Alonso continued with the Woking team, that too in a Honda-powered car?

In a recent interview with Motorsport, former F1 driver Anthony Davidson shared his opinion on the same. “I wonder how he has looked at Honda’s performance over the past year,” said the Briton about Alonso.

Davidson had a long history with Honda during his time with the sport. He was a test rider for BAR-Honda for many years and drove in 2007 and 2008 for Super Aguri, which also used the Japanese power unit.

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When asked if he thinks Alonso and McLaren would have fought Hamilton and Mercedes for the title, he had a rather indirect answer.

“Well, no idea. But then McLaren would have gotten the factory backing from Honda that Red Bull had had in recent years. Of course, McLaren is currently running a Mercedes engine that is as strong as the Honda power unit.”

“But it is also about extra budget that they would otherwise have had. That is perhaps the most important point. Otherwise, they could have invested the money they spend on leasing engines in the development of the car,” said Davidson as reported by Motorsport.

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The two drivers will surely look to challenge each other on the grid no matter which car they are in. The 2021 Hungarian GP is a big example of that. As F1 fans, this rivalry is the one we always look forward to. Tell us your favorite Alonso-Hamilton moments.

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Rituraj Tripathi

285 articles

Rituraj Tripathi is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. A true lover of speed, he is big fan of Lewis Hamilton and finds a future world champion in Lando Norris. Rituraj eagerly looks forward to the paddock moving to the Circuit de Monaco, and he finds Portier corner as the most exciting part of the track.

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