Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Imola, 2021

‘I should be better, I will be in Portimao’ vows Alonso after first point of comeback

2021 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso says he didn’t perform at the level he should during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, but expects to be more competitive at the next race in Portugal.

The Alpine driver finished 11th on the road in the second race since his return to F1, and was promoted to 10th by Kimi Raikkonen’s penalty. He said he is still adjusting to his new car following his comeback.

“I’ve changed things many times, even I changed category or different series in motorsport many times and there is always a period of adaptation,” he explained. “But that has been never and excuse and it’s going to be not an excuse now.

“I should be better. I was not at the right level this weekend, but I will be in Portimao.”

Alonso was out-qualified by Esteban Ocon, who also finished ahead of him in the race. But the two-times world champion isn’t concerned at being behind his junior team mate at this stage of his comeback.

“I was expecting exactly what we are finding now,” said Alonso. “I finished right behind Esteban today. I was in front of him when I retired the car in Bahrain, with a guy that is performing very well and was two years in the team. He finished in the podium last year in Bahrain.

“It was my second qualifying here and it is my first race, here, because in Bahrain I only did 30 laps and I’m more or less where I expected it to be.”

While Alonso expects to be more competitive at the next race, he says it will take him longer to become fully confident at the wheel of his Alpine.

“We always want to be higher up and you want to be a little bit more confident in the car. Probably I was not confident in Bahrain or confident here. I will not be confident in Portimao. This is not a thing that it goes from day to night and then you are 100 percent. It will take time.

“But I’m here to work and I’m here to get better. And a race like [this] it helps massively because you can feel the car in very difficult conditions and you can learn a lot more than just a normal race.”

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22 comments on “‘I should be better, I will be in Portimao’ vows Alonso after first point of comeback”

  1. I guess getting back into F1 is not quite as easy as many said it was. And changing teams is seemingly a bit of a struggle as well, as we see from Perez, from Ricciardo and to an extent from Sainz as well.

      1. Well, sure. But so far Seb looked like he is more or less exactly on the same sad level of form he was on last year at Ferrari, not really having trouble with the change of team, rather with himself and his own form @jerejj

        1. Fair points. Vettel is far from comfortable with the car.

    1. My thougths exactly regarding drivers who changed teams this year, especially Ricciardo. It seems like this year they are struggling more than before when it comes to adapting to a new team, car, setup, etc. Add that to being two years ot of the sport and you can tell it will take some time for Alonso to get to grips with the Alpine.

      1. @diegof1

        it will take some time for Alonso to get to grips with the Alpine.

        I don’t think he ever will. I can see his F1 exit being a topic before the season is over…

        (I do hope I get to eat these words.)

        1. Don’t really think he will be exiting before the year, no matter the results. Remember that in the early days of his comeback announcement both him and Alpine declared that this was a learning year with the aim of being truly competitive for the new regulations in 2022.

    2. It’d be interesting to have a feature article comparing the drivers in new teams after 5 races. I am also surprised about how most of them are struggling , none of them look comfortable in their new car. Ricciardo seems to be making the least mistakes, perhaps he is driving the most conservatively?

    3. Exactly. Even more so when the PU behind them has changed as well as each PU has its own unique “driveability” characteristics so they’d experience something very different under their foot than each was used to.

      With so many drivers having moved teams this year we actually get to see just how difficult it is for drivers to just jump in a car and be up to speed. The reduction in testing days at the start of the season and reduction of Free Practice hours has also had a huge impact as the “new” drivers are barely getting any chance to “experiment” with settings at all.

  2. I guess that’s what was to be expected, but a bit shocking nonetheless. His start was pretty bad, he lost four places in one lap. Bahrain gave a wrong picture, it looked like if he never left but in the meantime, two years out, an entirely new car, new engine and team …
    I’d be curious to see some comparison graphics on throttle, brake and speed between Alonso and Ocon.

    1. @spoutnik

      I honestly expected Alonso to struggle on his return. We saw Ocon struggle last year on his return after a year out. It took up until late in the season before he was even in comparable form to Ricciardo.
      I see Alonso taking a while to get to grips with his machine after spending 2 seasons out. Bahrain did paint a slightly rosy picture as some drivers made errors and Alonso pulled off a great quali lap at a circuit he knows well.. But you know he’s still nowhere close to the Alonso of old. In fact I can’t even remember the last time he really struggled in getting performance out of a poor car.
      I’m glad he’s admitted it to himself that he’s still got room to improve. We know he’s got the talent and the work ethic.. So it’s only a matter of time now.

    2. If you’re not confident in the car, a wet track is going to show it up pretty clearly.

  3. @diegof1

    it will take some time for Alonso to get to grips with the Alpine

    I don’t think he ever will. I can see his F1 exit being a topic before the season is over…

    (I do hope I get to eat these words.)

    1. sorry, one of those misplaced replies!

    2. Well let’s not write him off already, he’s only had 1 full race for us to judge him against. And I don’t think he will throw his toys out of the pram regardless of how bad Alpine are this season either. I’m sure he’s getting the chance to give loads of input into the 2022 car and that it’s pretty much going to be a ‘built for Alonso’ car. So I’m sure he (and Alpine) will want to see how that goes next year.

    3. Trashed by Ocon, then leave F1. Ouch Ouch!

      1. We’ve had 2 races and he’s had 2 races out…

    4. He looked really good at Bahrein, what are you taling about

  4. Soon we’ll find out what wasn’t easy for both him and Esteban when we enter the summer break.

  5. Alonso proclaimed himself better than Hamilton, Verstappen, or anyone else in F1 before the start to the 2021 season…..seems to me if you’re going to talk it, you better walk it. Being duffed up by Esteban Ocon at any stage doesn’t smell like “the best” to me. Stop with the excuses Fernando.

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