19 drivers already know they won’t win 2024 F1 title

19 drivers already know they won't win 2024 F1 title


Alonso reckons the new AMR24 marks an improvement over last year’s car, but he is reluctant to say that the team will repeat its flying start from 2023 – due to the winter progress made by rival teams.

However, the two-time champion believes that reigning constructors’ champion Red Bull will be another step ahead given the ‘surprisingly’ extensive changes undertaken for the RB20, which features Mercedes-style canons on the engine cover and vertical sidepod intakes.

As such, Alonso believes that Red Bull lead driver Max Verstappen is already nailed on for the 2024 drivers’ title, with the Spaniard seemingly dismissing the chances of team-mate Sergio Perez.

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Asked about the early indications from testing, Alonso said: “I don’t have a crystal ball to know what the others are doing.

“I think Max is the world champion and Red Bull is dominating the sport. Also, the concept that they presented this year, it’s also a surprise.

“At the moment, we just have to watch them and see how they perform.

“I think 19 drivers in the paddock now will think that [they] will not win the championship.

“It happens 99% of the time in your career. This is a brutal sport.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Erik Junius

Leading F1 figures such as Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes technical director James Allison say that teams know from the very first laps whether their new car is capable of winning.

When this was put to Alonso to preview Aston Martin’s form, he again talked up the chances of Verstappen and Red Bull – the team having won 21 out of 22 grands prix last year – possibly even surpassing that strike rate.

He said: “I think it’s difficult to tell now [if we have a race winning car].

“I would say, I think after seeing Max and the Red Bull car this year, there are less chances for everybody to win a race this year. But this is how it is.”

Alonso, 42, claims he has scored his best-ever pre-season fitness test results this year.

But despite his personal condition, he reckons there can be no guarantees that this will translate to strong race results based on his turbulent second spell at McLaren from 2015 to 2018.

He added: “I was super fit, happy and motivated in [2015] and I scored 11 points [finishing 17th in the championship]. So, this sport is not always what you feel or what you do.”

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