Fernando Alonso Links Vettel’s Ferrari Exit to F1 Engine Controversy

Published 12/21/2020, 8:25 AM EST
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 03: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso speaks with Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda as the walk in the paddock during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone Circuit on July 3, 2015 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool // P-20150703-00790 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information. //


Fernando Alonso is a savant, a deep-thinker, and one of the smartest F1 drivers on the grid. He is generally aware of what goes around in the paddock, and when he says something, fans listen carefully. This time, the returning driver gave his opinion on Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari.

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The German is the rival who has arguably given Alonso the most pain in his F1 career. While at Ferrari himself, he lost a closely fought World Championship battle to the then-Red Bull driver twice.

Even though he still holds some grudge towards Vettel, he is a little sympathetic towards him now.

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Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Fernando Alonso is interviewed FIA/Handout via REUTERS

On being asked about Ferrari’s decision to replace Vettel with his compatriot Sainz, Alonso said, “It is connected to particular reasons. Ferrari knew about the investigation on the 2019 engine, it was aware it could not win. In these conditions, a world champion at home for a long time would have increased the pressure.”

Charles Leclerc is the ‘apple of the eye’ at the Italian outfit. Since he started outperforming Vettel in 2019, they always planned to instate him as their ‘Number 1’ driver. So, now they are building the team around the Monegasque with Sainz as his partner.

“And then, after 5 years, it became clear that Seb could not be the savior of the homeland, that Leclerc has more potential. Sainz must have seemed the right driver to accompany Charles.”

Can Fernando Alonso be the savior for Renault?

Nothing has really changed in F1 since the Spaniard went on a sabbatical in 2018. Mercedes has consistently dominated and is expected to dominate again next year.

However, Alonso has been plying his trade at different racing ventures and believes that gives him an edge.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 13, 2020 Fernando Alonso poses for a picture with the Renault R25 before driving a lap Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

“I think I’m mature like never before. The psychophysical tests show that I am as fit as in 2010. I analyzed how I was driving to correct any defects, my speed remained intact, the experiences at Le Mans and Indy provided useful data,” explained Alonso.

But is it enough to lift himself and Renault back to their glory days?

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Not for the next year, but in 2022 when the new rules kick in, he hopes so. Otherwise, at 39, he would have been relaxing at the beach and not risking himself in the cockpit of an F1 car.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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