Alonso says he’s getting quicker with age

Fernando Alonso believes he is so much better now than he was at 23 that he would beat his younger self “with one hand” in a race.

The Spaniard returned to Formula 1 after a two-year break this season and recently turned 40, but is expected to sign a contract extension at Alpine after a number of impressive performances. While he acknowledges that his age could be seen as a limiting factor in other sports, he said he has only gotten quicker over time.

“What I feel maybe sounds the opposite to what people outside think,” Alonso said. “We seem to get confused about age and (the) performance that a sportsman can do. This is not the Tour de France, this is not the Olympic Games, this is not football, where at 23 you are at the peak of your performance.

“If I race myself now against myself of 23, I will beat him with one hand. And it’s not the same for only myself, I think everyone will give you the same answer. So it’s not that the younger you are, the quicker you are. This is not how the stopwatch works in motorsport.

“But there are people that want to see new names, they want to see new hopes and they want to get rid of some of the normal names that they see every weekend. But I see myself (racing for a) very long time. If it’s in Formula 1, great; if it’s not in Formula 1, I will try and pursue some of the remaining challenges outside of Formula 1 to be hopefully the most complete driver in motorsport ever.”

Alonso returned to F1 with an eye on the 2022 regulations and a chance for the competitive order to be mixed up; something he believes is still on the cards.

“Probably even the top teams that are now dominating the sport are a little bit concerned about the new rules and how they will interpret those cars,” he said. “What you see next year in the first couple of races, or the first year of that set of regulations, eventually you will see the same results for four or five years.

“It’s what we saw (before) – a team that is dominant at the start of one set of rules, they seem to keep that advantage for years. Everything gets closer and closer, but the same one is winning. So next year is going to be interesting, especially for the younger drivers and how they decide their future, because no team has a guarantee that they will perform well.

“In our case, I don’t know. This team has always been clever in interpreting rules, has always been fighting. It’s not a team that has been spending a lot of money in Formula 1 in the past, so I believe with the cost cap there is some advantage for this kind of team, that they are more efficient in terms of money and results – and money and wind tunnel results as well. So I think there is a chance to close the gap, but no guarantees for sure.”