Pat Symonds believes Fernando Alonso still has the ability to win races in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship despite the Spaniard going almost ten years without standing on the top step of the podium.
Alonso’s last victory came whilst driving for Scuderia Ferrari in the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix, with his career since then having taken him to a lacklustre McLaren Honda team as well as the BWT Alpine F1 Team, either side of a two-year spell away from Formula 1 where he raced in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Toyota Gazoo Racing.
For 2023, Alonso will make the switch to the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team, but Symonds, the current Chief Technical Officer of Formula 1 and part of the Renault F1 Team that helped the Spaniard win two consecutive Drivers’ Championships in 2005 and 2006, believes he still has what it takes to return to winning ways if given the car to do so.
“Yeah, in the right car, I think he is,” Symonds is quoted as saying by PlanetF1.com at the Autosport International show. “You know, he is in his early 40s, [but] we’ve got such a spectrum now.
“An 18-year-old could get in the car and drive as [Lance] Stroll did, as indeed [Max] Verstappen did, right through into the 40s. Because the cars are not terribly physical to drive in terms of upper body strength and things, you still need a reasonable amount, but you know, [there is] power steering. You need to be able to resist the G forces, but if you keep training, you can do that.
“And I think Fernando’s mind is as sharp as ever. Is he as quick as he was? I don’t know. I think there must be something that tempers you, it might be called common sense, but I think if you put him in the right car, I’m damn sure he can still win races.
“Fabulous ability, and you’ve got to remember, yes, he’s ‘only’ won the World Championship twice, but he’s finished second a lot. And any of those ones where he finished second, he wasn’t far off winning. So he could have been a five-time World Champion, for example, but for a little bit of fate.”