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There is perhaps no tangible way to settle the GOAT debate in Formula 1. But what happens when someone who has worked closely with 3 different world champions across different eras of Formula 1 is asked to choose his best two picks? It’s not as straightforward as you might think. However, Formula 1’s current Chief Technical Officer, Pat Symonds, who has worked with all 3 multiple world champions–Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, and Fernando Alonso–in the past, recently favored the Spaniard, Alonso over the Brazilian legend, Senna. His reasons? Simply the era in which Senna raced.

It’s interesting to note that just over a year ago, at the Autosport International show in Birmingham, when Symonds was asked a similar question, he gave a very different answer. He has had the privilege of collaborating with these legendary drivers during his tenure with ‘Team Enstone’ from the early 1980s to 2008. During the 1980s, Symonds played a crucial role at Toleman, the precursor to Benetton and Renault, where he worked alongside Ayrton Senna during the early phase of his illustrious career.

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Moving into the 1990s, Symonds served as Michael Schumacher‘s race engineer during the German’s championship-winning campaign in 1994 and again in 1995. And eventually, he contributed to Fernando Alonso’s championship triumphs in 2005 and 2006. When asked to choose the best of the three drivers, Symonds highlighted the different demands drivers faced in their respective eras in the ’80s, ’90s, and 2000s. And that, according to him, was the reason it’s hard to pick between drivers from a different era.

However, in a recent appearance on the F1: Beyond The Grid Podcast, when host Tom Clarkson asked Symonds to pick his dream team of 2 drivers, this very reason became the deciding factor in leaving Ayrton Senna out. “You got to choose of Senna, Schumacher, and Alonso, who’s in?” asked Clarkson.

Michael Schumacher, no doubt about that. Then, I think [Fernando] Alonso, said Symonds. “Because Senna probably really really high on natural ability. [But] how would he adapt to modern Formula 1, [I] really don’t know. So I would probably go on the safer choice.” Despite Alonso’s lack of recent victories, Symonds still regards him highly, describing him as “very intelligent.”

He regards him so highly in fact, that he believes Mercedes shouldn’t even think twice before signing Fernando Alonso for 2025 even if that decision could pose some problems for George Russell.

Fernando Alonso is Symonds’ top pick for Mercedes as a small to medium-term option

Despite the challenges with the W15 car, Mercedes is actively looking for a driver to fill Lewis Hamilton‘s shoes. One notable recommendation comes from Pat Symonds, who sees Fernando Alonso as a perfect short to medium-term candidate for the Silver Arrows. Symonds believes Alonso’s experience could provide Mercedes with valuable insight and help the team move forward, something very similar to what Alonso did at Aston Martin when he joined the Silverstone-based team in 2023.

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Speaking of whether Mercedes should consider signing Fernando Alonso, Symonds said, “Yes. I really rate the guy, I think he’s incredibly fast. So, if I was looking for the best result I could get in 2025, who do I need to help me with my brand new 2026 car to a totally new set of regulations, Fernando’s your man. However, then you’re left with a problem. You’re left with the problem of George, who’s been there a few years and thinking, ‘Where do I go next?’.

“Fernando, who, probably at that point, says, ‘Yep, okay, I’ve proven it. It’s time to move on.’… So, I think if I was Toto, I would do it. But I’d be thinking, ‘Okay, well, what’s my next move?’ Because you’ve got to be looking further down the line,” he added.

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READ MORE: “All Spanish Aston Martin Next Year”: Carlos Sainz Could Join Fernando Alonso in 2025 as Bad News Awaits Lance Stroll, Predicts Eddie Jordan

With multiple names linked with the Mercedes for 2025 by now, who do you think has the best chance of ending up in Hamilton’s seat? Share your insights in the comments down below.

Written by

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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Veerendra Singh is a Motorsport writer at EssentiallySports who specializes in F1 coverage. Having followed the sport for more than 12 years, Veerendra excels in covering trend-setting articles and has covered Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff, and Charles Leclerc extensively during the 2023 F1 season. His Dale Earnhardt Jr post regarding the North Wilkesboro Speedway was shared by Save The Speedway Twitter account.
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Edited by

Akash Pandhare