At 40 years old, Fernando Alonso believes his age is an advantage in F1 – and would be ready to start another season “next week”.
The Spaniard becomes the sport’s elder statesman for the 2022 campaign following the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen, so will be the only driver in the field to have reached the fifth decade of his life.
But there is nothing about Alonso that marks him out as an old man, be it physically, mentally or in his driving, and while he is keen to map out his off-season to the best effect he insists he could have kept racing all the way through the winter if required.
Indeed, after taking part in the Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi, he is not about to hang up his crash helmet just yet – he will be involved in a 24-hour karting race in Dubai at the weekend.
148 laps later 🙌#F1Testing ✔️ pic.twitter.com/TVyEWzZRqb
— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) December 15, 2021
“I’m super-strong, I’m ready…I can start the season next week in Bahrain!,” joked Alonso, quoted by Formula 1, who finished 10th in the Drivers’ standings after returning from two years away.
“No, I was planning to have a different preparation next year, not because the cars will be different but just because last winter I couldn’t do a proper preparation because of the bike accident.”
The Alpine driver has already confirmed he will be having the plates removed from his face in January which were inserted after he was knocked off his bicycle while training in Lugano, Switzerland.
“I’m closer than 10 months ago,” he said. “Difficult to know…the limit and where we could get next year.
“I think we need a good winter, that’s for sure. I need to be prepared or to get ready a little bit better than last year. The accident in February with the bicycle didn’t help.
“[Regarding] my age, I feel good. Honestly, I feel an advantage, you know? When I come to a circuit, I know the circuits. Even now, you know everyone is testing this 18-inch tyre and I know very well these tyres from the WEC (World Endurance Championship).
“There is exactly the same behaviour on the tyres and the same way you have to drive the tyre…all the things I am facing – that other people are facing for the first time – for me, this is the second or third time. This is good.”
He added: “I think I only see the advantages. Physically, I think the cars of today are not very demanding. I think in 2004, ’05, maybe age was a limitation, but today I did 148 laps and in two hours’ time I have a free practice in Dubai (for the 24 Hours of Dubai karting event).
“I can do 300 laps with these cars, so there is not a problem physically.”
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