"I came back to the sport because of these regulations," says Alonso


Much like F1's owners, two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso is hoping that the rules overhaul is a game changer for the sport.

When he walked away from F1 at the end of 2018, the Spaniard was totally disillusioned, not only with the McLaren Honda fiasco but the general state of the sport.

However, it was the promised overhaul of the regulations, which would level the playing field, open up competition and promote better racing that encouraged him back.

From the outset, on his return Alonso showed he had lost none of his guile or passion, and other than some of the best starts of the season, the Spaniard entertained with a number of high-profile scraps.

Speaking at the unveiling of Alpine's 2022 contender, Alonso spoke of his hopes for the sport's new era.

"We have been asking for closer racing between cars, especially in the corners," said the Spaniard. "We will have to wait and see if these regulations allow closer racing, but I will never be upset with the idea of more exciting racing.

"The sport is moving in the right direction off track too," he added, "thanks to the introduction of things like a budget cap. We hope it can bring more fairer racing between all of the teams with limits on spending to stop others outspending the rest."

Asked if he believes the rules overhaul might assist Alpine to edge up the grid, he replied: "I hope so!

"I came back to the sport because of these regulations," he added, "so it has been one year and a half waiting for these cars.

"I think the team did an amazing job in the last year, building this car, so we are all very motivated.

"Last year was more of a transitional one for the team and obviously a continuation of the 2020 cars," he explained. "However, we still managed to achieve some fantastic results like Esteban's win in Hungary and my podium in Qatar.

"This year, though, there is a real feeling of optimism in the team. We've worked hard in Enstone and Viry over the winter. We will not know where everyone stands until the cars are wheeled out for the first time in Barcelona, but the anticipation of this moment is always special for everyone involved."

"This year is extremely exciting for Formula 1 and for us as a team," added teammate, Esteban Ocon. "It's like the cards have been redistributed, it's a fresh start and there is going to be a real mix without immediately knowing who will be at the front.

"We don't know what will happen. You could say that provides some anxiety, heading into the unknown, but I find that exciting. It's not necessarily about who will start the season the quickest, but more about who will end it the quickest. We know there will be a high rate of development from all the teams through the year, almost like a race in the design offices away from the track.

"It's going to be a great challenge for us drivers," he enthused, "where hopefully we can follow cars closer and enjoy some closer racing.

"Let's see, though, all of this is subject to confirmation and we will have a much clearer picture at the end of the tests. We don't know where our competitors will be, but we will concentrate only on ourselves.

"You always hear rumours from other teams," he added. "Some will be ahead of the game, others not, but it's hard to tell. What I do know is that we will push flat out! Our aim is to come out from race weekends with no regrets and deliver everything possible with what we have. That is how I am approaching the season."

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Published: 22/02/2022
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