Sebastian Vettel’s exit from Aston and F1 at the end of this season opened up a seat within the team and Alonso was quick to fill it, with him set to move from Alpine at the end of this year.
Indeed, it’s a move that surprised many with his current team further up the standings than Aston at the moment, but it’s clear he was convinced by the Silverstone-based outfit’s ambition.
A driver that could be well into his 40s by the time he leaves F1, Fernando is showing no signs of slowing down and, indeed, Alesi believes he can still win in the sport, whilst he also paid tribute to the Spaniard’s longevity when recalling an early memory of Fernando in 2001 – his debut year:
“I’ll tell you a story,” Alesi said to Give Me Sport.
“I was in Hockenheim and at the time we had the long circuit, it was not the Hockenheim we have now. We had these long straights going into the forest so, of course, we had the stadium section with all the public and then for a long time you were in the forest with no public.
“So he was next to me [on the drivers’ parade] and suddenly at the end of the forest was one fan with a sign saying ‘Happy Birthday Fernando.’ And so I turned to him and said ‘Fernando, is it your birthday?’ And I ask him how old he is and he says ’20-years-old!’ So that is my memory of him and to see the career he has had, it’s just amazing. What a fighter, I mean this guy when you see drivers like him, you’re happy to pay the ticket.”
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There’s every chance fans could see Fernando driving for at least three more years after this season, providing certain targets are met by him and Aston, and Alesi believes the ambition of the team drew Alonso in:
“I understand there is a new investor in Aston Martin and they are very ambitious. The ambition is very high. So I hope he has made a good move this time because sometimes he has made some mistakes in his life. But to finish a career with a good move would be a very good story for all of us.”
The big question is, though, can Fernando win titles at Aston? Alesi believes he can, though it probably won’t happen as early as next year:
“Absolutely. We cannot talk about talent because we know he has it. What we can say is can he handle physically the whole season fighting the young drivers? I have to say yes, the cars are very demanding in terms of G-force but Fernando has never stopped [driving]. When he was not in Formula 1 he was running sports cars and he is always in a car so I’m sure he can [compete.] But to win a world championship for a team like Aston now, I don’t believe it will happen next year [at least.]”
It’s going to be a fascinating chapter in Fernando’s career, however, as he looks to deliver the promise the Aston team is showing before his time in F1 is up – whenever that may be!
The 2022 Formula 1 world championship resumes with the Belgian Grand Prix on Aug 26-28.