Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 in 2021 with Renault at the ripe old age of 39, but the two-time world champion says the years have not reined in his speed.
Alonso could become Grand Prix racing’s senior citizen next season should Alfa Romeo charger Kimi Raikkonen decide to end his career at the pinnacle of motorsport.
But Alonso believes the passing years have so far not dulled his edge.
“I saw Formula 1 for many years,” said the Spaniard during a video call with media yesterday. “The stopwatch is the only thing that matters, not the age.
“I never had a classification on the race based on the passport, my date of birth. It’s always on stopwatch. Hopefully we’re still fast.”
Official: Alonso to return to F1 with Renault in 2021!
F1 legend Michael Schumacher was 40 when he returned to the fray with Mercedes, indulging in a comeback that was not met with success, although to be fair, the Silver Arrows squad was in the early stages of its upward trajectory.
Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul has no doubts about Alonso’s ability to perform at the highest level, insisting that motivation was more important than age.
“It is not a worry,” the Frenchman told the BBC. “It is something we take on board. We have taken the time to discuss (it).
“What matters most is not the physical status or situation, it is more the motivation. I guess that one thing that is impacting your level of performance at a certain age is your level of motivation.
“His motivation is strong, and therefore in my opinion, age is not a factor for the duration of our contract.”
Alonso’s former McLaren teammate Jenson Button also has no doubts about the F1 veteran’s impetus.
“I feel pretty good at 40 to be fair!” Button told Sky F1. “I still want to be racing something as well.
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“As long as your heart’s in it, and you’re working hard enough on your fitness, then definitely [he can star].
“I think he’s really excited about the new regulations coming in. Obviously they’ve got delayed a little bit but I think it’s great for the sport having him back.”
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