Fernando Alonso during the podium celebration in Brazil (REUTERS).
Next weekend, Formula 1 will plant its flag in previously inhospitable territory: Las Vegas. The great circus and Fernando Alonso will travel to Sin City again with the best version of his car after its exhibition in Brazil. He has never won on Rio soil, but Interlagos has a special place in the Asturian’s heart. Under the Brazilian sun he has won his two world championships in 2005 and 2006 and this season, in 2023, he has put in one of his greatest displays in Formula 1. For fifteen laps he has held off a Red Bull, Pérez’s, which It was 20 kilometers per hour faster and had the added benefit of DRS. His Numantine defense was close to becoming an anecdote, as the Mexican managed to overtake him with two laps remaining, but Alonso was once again the most intelligent on the circuit.
He kept an ace up his sleeve. He stuck to his rear wing and managed to reach the DRS detection zone in less than a second. He had one lap left, he only had one chance to return the lead and when he came to the braking stage of turn four, he launched himself without thinking and restored Aston Martin to the podium seven races later. Solid race by Carlos Sainz, sixth, the only Ferrari in the running after Leclerc’s accident on the formation lap. Victory for Verstappen with Norris second.
Precisely, the British driver has led McLaren’s recovery in the second half of the championship. Those from Woking have gone from living in the middle of the grid to becoming regulars on the podium. The change has been so significant that they have managed to reverse the grid and surpass Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship. The poor results of the British team have also contributed to this. Both Alonso and Stroll suffered problems in the car and fell to the bottom of the grid and, on occasions, even retired the car before seeing the checkered flag.
However, the improvement seen in Brazil, with the Asturian on the podium and the Canadian in fifth place, has made McLaren jump. “We have to recognize that Aston seems to have returned to the place where he had to start the season,” warned team manager Andrea Stella. “We have to consider them in the championship and we have to be very careful that they can score a lot of points in the last races,” he adds. Two races, Las Vegas and Yas Marina, and 88 points at stake for a winner to be decided in the battle between Aston Martin and Mclaren. Both in the drivers’ championship, where Fernando only surpasses Norris by three points, and in the Constructors’ championship, in which Mclaren leads the green arrows by 21 units.
The power that drives the AMR 23 on each circuit is directly proportional to the desire and ambition that Fernando Alonso maintains at almost 42 years of age. His second stage in Formula 1 began marked by the poor results achieved at the helm of a McLaren that Alonso himself described as “GP2”, but the current situation has taken a 180 degree turn. Since the Spaniard decided to join Aston Martin, everything that could go well has gone well. “The idea was that in 2024 we would be a regular contender for the podium. But this year in the first half of the season we have been regularly fighting for the top positions and that has been a surprise, so I am happy,” says the Spaniard.
For all this, Alonso feels motivated for 2024, clarifying that he does not plan to change teams again, despite the information that has placed him at Red Bull to replace Checo Pérez. “They’re just rumours, normal paddock rumours, from people who are just trying to make fun of it and gain some followers on social media. I do not like that game. I think it’s not funny. I feel fresh, I feel fast and I am enjoying the ride with Aston Martin. I feel motivated. It is not yet time to retire,” he stated forcefully in this regard.