2013 was a season where the 2-time World Champion, Fernando Alonso, came a distant second to Sebastian Vettel. Driving for Ferrari, the Spaniard finished 155 points behind Vettel, who was in the form of his life with Red Bull Racing.
In the same season, Lotus F1, which would later be bought out by Renault, finished 4tht in the Constructors’ standings. Although they had designed a good car, they never really seemed like title contenders.
But Alonso believes that had he raced for Lotus at the time, he would have won the championship with them. That is, of course, according to current Renault Sporting Director Alan Permane, who revealed brief details from their conversation back in 2014.
Speaking to a podcast, Permane stated, “Fernando said to me in 2014 that ‘if I was in your car last year, I would have won, I’d have won the championship’, that’s what he said to me.
“And again, that’s one of those little things that sticks in your head. It was an airport check-in queue somewhere, and he said I could have won in that car.”
Alonso spent 4 seasons with Ferrari, before moving to McLaren in 2015. But things could have turned out so differently for the Spanish driver with the power of the Lotus F1 car.
“It was a good car. I mean, the Red Bull was really something else and especially Sebastian in that Red Bull, they were untouchable. But yeah, Fernando thinks he could have won in that car,” concluded Permane on the subject.
The 2013 season was an unusually strange one for Alonso. Although it looked like he would be able to give Vettel a genuine title fight, his momentum tailed off, and ultimately, had to accept second place.
It feels like at the backend of his career, Alonso is just focused on doing well with Renault next year. The team will of course take on a new name and will be rebranded as Alpine F1 from 2021 onwards.
Fernando had retired at the end of 2018, following his final season with McLaren. Naturally, he would have felt there was unfinished business in F1, which led to his return to the sport.
Many are keen to see how he gets on with his ‘boyhood’ team, considering Renault is where he started off. And while a title challenge will be far-fetched, his passion for racing will be largely appreciated when he returns to the track.