Will Fernando Alonso Return to F1?There are strong rumours that Fernando Alonso will return to F1. Talks of a possible F1 comeback started in part due to the driver situation at Red Bull and Ferrari. The former is looking for stability, and perhaps even a big name. The latter, on the other hand, might be looking to move on from Sebastian Vettel, who has had a disappointing 2019 season. Both teams have denied courting the Spaniard, who has continued his winning ways in the World Endurance Championships.
ALONSO LOOKS ALL IN
Despite Red Bull’s and Ferrari’s denials, don’t expect the rumour to die down just yet. For one, Alonso himself seems to be stoking the fire, confirming to Sky Sports that a return is possible. When asked about potentially racing again in F1, Alonso’s curt reply was, “maybe.” The Spaniard did elaborate though, saying, “Let’s see. I need to figure out a couple of different challenges out of Formula 1 that I need to complete . . . 2021 with the new regulations, I think it’s a good mix that we can find there and maybe a different Formula 1 than what we see now”.
The new regulations Alonso alluded to aim to level the playing field. Some of the proposed changes included standardising car features, strengthening tyres to minimise pit stops, and making more competitive grids. These, in part, will help negate the advantages of McLaren and Ferrari, which are allowed “to race ahead of the pack due to their superior financial standing”.
A REUNION AT MARANELLO?
Furthermore, the driver situation at Ferrari continues to look fluid. Vettel has disappeared this season, and has been mostly outraced by teammate Charles Leclerc. While Vettel is still within striking distance of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for 3rd place, he has looked increasingly unreliable of late. A Vettel-Ferrari divorce is a very real possibility. That will leave an opening at Ferrari that they will want to fill with a big name. But Leclerc, for all his promise, might not exactly be the driver that Ferrari needs. The proud team at Maranello wants to be World Champions once more, and Leclerc won’t help them in that regard. Alonso, though, certainly could. That makes him a logical and appealing choice for Ferrari should they part ways with Vettel.
THE ALONSO EFFECT
Fernando Alonso returning would be a boost, not only to Ferrari, but also for F1 in general. He was, and still is, one of the sport’s biggest names. The Spaniard won two World Championships (in 2005 and 2006, both with Renault) and 32 races overall in a 17-year career. He has finished first at nearly all of the different racetracks, including multiple victories in Germany, Monaco, and Great Britain. He also won the ultra-challenging Singaporean Grand Prix twice. Coral’s guide to F1 race tracks documents how Alonso is one of only a few drivers to win the Singapore Grand Prix since it started in 2011. Hamilton and Vettel are the only other drivers to win it more than once. A return to F1 will allow Alonso to add to his legacy, and maybe add intrigue to a sport that is currently being dominated by Hamilton. At the moment, though, nothing is set in stone — except Fernando Alonso’s interest in a comeback. A return to the sport in 2020 is certainly out of the question, as Alonso is unlikely to be given a place in F1’s top teams. But 2021 is a different story. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull are all likely to have vacancies. That just might be the opening Alonso needs.