Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test

Stroll “has the possibility to be world champion”, says Alonso

2023 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso has hailed his new team mate Lance Stroll as a potential future world champion.

The pair are partners at Aston Martin, which is co-owned by Lawrence Stroll, Lance’s father.

Alonso is embarking on his 20th season and still seeking his third world championship crown. At 41, he is prepared to accept the possibility that his latest team might not be able to give him a shot at the title before he retires.

“I will still be very proud if the team wins without me in the car,” he said in an interview for the team’s website. “I will be very proud of the process and my contribution to the project.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Suzuka, 2022
Stroll will be Alonso’s team mate this year
“In Lance, the team has a driver who is super young, super talented and has the possibility to be world champion. To see him achieve that and have played a part in that, whether that’s behind the wheel or not, will be special for me.”

Stroll’s best world championship result to date is 11th place with his current team in 2020, three years after he arrived in F1 with Williams. However his history with Alonso began long before that, when the pair were contracted to Ferrari.

“I’ve known Lance for 11 years,” said Alonso. “We met in 2012 when I was at Ferrari – he was in the Ferrari Academy. And I’ve known his father, Lawrence, for many years. He’s a great friend of mine. I’ve been to his house in Canada a few times, doing different sports and enjoying time together.”

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Asked by his team “just how underrated is Lance”, Alonso responded: “He has the speed, and he has the talent. He has shown it many times, especially in wet conditions.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020
Stroll took pole for rain-hit 2020 Turkish GP
“I remember Lance’s pole position in Turkey [in 2020] and some of his other excellent performances in the wet; to perform at that level in difficult conditions you have to have a special feeling with the car.”

Alonso said he is “not thinking about timeframes and how long it will take the team to win races” after joining the outfit which placed seventh in the world championship for the last two seasons.

“I will take it race by race, season by season. What’s important is that we keep making progress.

“We need to feel happy with each other and help each other: Aston Martin helping me to achieve the results and the targets that I have and me helping the team to progress every race, every year, to get closer and closer to the top positions.

“I will use all my experience and all my knowledge to help the team shortcut the time that is needed to become world champions. Will I be behind the steering wheel when that time comes? Nobody knows. It’s impossible to predict. But what is certain is that I will try my best.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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69 comments on “Stroll “has the possibility to be world champion”, says Alonso”

  1. Sure. Any season now he’ll show us something actually special that’ll convince the rest of us.

    1. Lance had his moments, it’s just that they usually come at most once a year and usually in wet or changing conditions.

      1. @proesterchen to be fair at least on one point Stroll is nailing most of his starts, in my mind he’s a consistently very good starter at least.

        1. @spoutnik It all tends to go a bit downhill from the first corner onwards though…..

          1. His first laps are usually great. It isn’t just the first corner. And remember just how much of the race he led that time he got pole. It doesn’t always instantly go down hill right after his launch.

      2. @proesterchen, @spoutnik, @sjaakfoo. Yes, he’s a strange one, Lance. He looks so mediocre most of the time. And then, very occasionally, he does something very special which points towards great talent. A mystery!

    2. @sjaakfoo Do you watch F1 or just comment on this site? Did you know that being good in qualifying, especially in wet, nailing starts, etc also regarded as good stuff in F1?

  2. Who says Ferdie has no sense of humour……

  3. Bit extra in his salary for having to say this and a bonus for not laughing straight after.

    1. Ahah, that seems very likely!

    2. I think has more to do with trying to dispel the largely unfair (IMO) and media fueled narrative that he is a toxic teammate.

  4. Oh boy… Alonso probably has a clause in his contract which states that he needs to praise Lance from time to time. And a percentage of his salary covers that clause.

  5. Rikard Stensson
    9th February 2023, 21:45

    What I think, (and what I read between the lines) is that Fernando (yet again) is setting himself up to be one of the all time greats by beating another nobody. Still I believe that in the right car at the right time – there are very few like Alonso.

    Did he hurt himself by switching teams at the wrong time? Yes.
    Did he also drive the wheels of whatever car he had at the time? Also yes.
    Could he have won every year with the proper machinery, yeah for sure.
    I want Fernando among my all time greats for his fighting/driving ability, but maybe not when you consider all the aspects of a world champiom (car, and ability to make a group of people a TEAM being the most important ones….)

    1. Don’t forget: Was his first World Championship a gift from the FIA? Yes. Yes, it was.

      1. No. Bridgestone and Ferrari just got the no tyre change regulations wrong, and Michelin, Alonso and Renault nailed it.
        The FIA gifted Schumacher the 2003 title with a mid-season tread width regulation re-interpretation part way through the season, hobbling all the Michelin teams. THAT was a title gifted.

      2. An other conspiracy please tell us all about it.

    2. if like him I had to choose between a profitable 3 years contract in a non-winning car and a 1 year contract in a non-winning car I’d be quick to answer. It remains to be seen but Alpine’s departure decision may not be his worst.

    3. I’m not sure greats are measured by how amiably they leave to be honest. Hamilton had an acrimonious exit from McLaren, Schumacher wasn’t renewed for 2007 with Ferrari, Fangio had multiple teams, Prost had an affair with his boss’s wife at Renault, fell out with McLaren, was sacked by Ferrari and refused to drive 94 with Senna at Williams. Vettel’s Ferrari exit was a bit sour too.

      There’s no doubt that when Alonso is in full flight with the team that they love him. De Montezemolo was at pains to express how well liked he was at Ferrari for years. McLaren and Enstone both had him back.

      I’m not sure any other driver is judged as harshly for team moves as Alonso. I think he made the right choice with every move he’s made.

      1. If Fred made the right move for 2007, it resulted in showing himself as not good enough and running away 12 months later.

        1. McLaren 2007 is surely an example of where he got the team selection correct. They accrued the most points in 2007. When Alonso signed in December 2005, Hamilton was not expected to partner him, JPM was.

          I’d also argue losing the title by a point and winning 4 races is not an example of being “not good enough” – it was clearly a mutual decision.

          As I say above – creating a fantastic team environment which manifests into a long term success project was always seen as the exception and something special – not a required qualification when assessing driver greatness.

          1. I’d also argue losing the title by a point and winning 4 races is not an example of being “not good enough”

            I’d say losing the title in the best car and losing to your teammate is the textbook definition of not being good enough.

          2. Aand losing all year to your rookie team mate despite additional tyre testing… plus your a two time champion. Plus your screwing benefits right up to Monaco – you know – cos your the boss! Despite being firmly behind.
            yeh – not a good look for a great driver

            The immature response? Well that’s in his court and has followed him since.

          3. I find it really difficult to believe that 2007 is still such a flashpoint between fans. It’s not as if Hamilton has gone on to be proven as an average driver. His stats make a compelling argument for the greatest ever and his closest rival by far is Alonso. His best season of his first 5 was his first – how many rookies can say that? As for Alonso’s side,.it’s conceivably his worst from a racecraft perspective. Considering it was a new team, engine and tyre it’s not a fair representation to say Alonso had it all in his favour and a hopeless rookie matched him. I’d have thought 15 years of time passing would have garnered a more circumspect reaction.

            @proesterchen – it’s easy to make flippant one liners without context, but as a regular poster you should have a respect for the community here to put across a balanced view.

          4. @rbalonso

            I quoted facts. Facts don’t care for nor do they need “balance” applied to them.

          5. With respect, saying something is “not good enough” is never a statement of fact but of opinion.

            With regard to “losing the title in the best car” – Alonso can’t be accused of not being good enough when the qualification for the statement, by your own definition, isn’t satisfied by the other driver. Hamilton didn’t win the title in the best car either – crucial missing context.

            Balance is important in these types discussion otherwise we’re deliberately misleading casual/new fans on here.

          6. @rbalonso

            Alonso can’t be accused of not being good enough when the qualification for the statement, by your own definition, isn’t satisfied by the other driver

            You’re misquoting me, the full quote reads:

            “losing the title in the best car and losing to your teammate”

            That applies to only one McLaren driver in 2007. (and, btw, a whole lot of Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes drivers in the last 25 years, including same the 2007 McLaren driver it didn’t apply to)

          7. @proesterchen

            I’m sorry I don’t follow the logic here. Hamilton lost the title in the best car but as he had more second places his season was “good enough”?

            If Alonso had finished ahead of Hamilton on Spain (11s between them at the flag), Alonso would have beaten his team-mate, still lost the title in the best car and would’ve been kept on with the team for 2008?

            I don’t believe that. Alonso wasn’t sacked by the team for his on track performance, as you suggest above, and given the team produced the best car it was the correct career move when he made the choice in 2005.

          8. If Alonso had finished ahead of Hamilton on Spain (11s between them at the flag), Alonso would have beaten his team-mate, still lost the title in the best car and would’ve been kept on with the team for 2008?

            Errr, no?

            If Fred had come in second in Spain ahead of his teammate and all other results stood as they were, he would have won the World Drivers Championship in the best car and beaten his teammate.

            Alonso wasn’t sacked by the team for his on track performance, as you suggest above

            I have never done such a thing.

          9. Yeah sorry – you’re obviously totally correct regarding Spain, my mistake. I was trying to convey that if the number of second places were inverted and Alonso had finished above Hamilton that the outcome would have been the same. I.e. Alonso would still have left McLaren.

            However I maintain that “good enough” is a loose, subjective opinion. Would Hamilton still have been considered “good enough” had he finished 3rd on 2nd place countback?

            In any event, no-one at McLaren in 2007 gave the best account of themselves. The drivers (Inc test), engineers and management were all well below par. But Alonso can hardly be blamed for making the choice to go there, when none of this was known.

          10. @proesterchen

            No one is suggesting Alonso came up against a no one – it is quite evident given that the someone has gone to be statistically best driver ever that this was a bit tough. A little research and watching a few races might have given him a clue.

            It is his immaturity in handling the fact that his team mate, rookie or otherwise, was actually driving at a better standard than he was. When the additional tyre tests and the fuelling advantages did not work. He demanded status despite being firmly behind through his driving, not the team letting him down. He was not as good over the first half of the season by a fair measure and all those “it’s the tyres man” simply does not work when you consider that he had significantly more mileage on said tyres plus years in F1 cars.. and for the record – all those people that think Hamilton spent all year testing – he was a touch busy winning GP2! The theory he somehow got a million miles testing that FA did not is truly laughable.

            Further said people should consider just how poor simulators were at that time. Particularly compared to now.

            Ferdi went for the atom bomb option and neither the team nor himself, despite the amazing talent he has, have recovered. He was hardly some rookie working against the big bad system.. they paid him a fortune as expected of a two time champion and if he had not set off that ridiculous bomb, one of them would have won. Given it required Massa to move over in the final race, it’s pretty evident who should have won

            His immaturety opened a can of worms that has demonstrably damaged his career. These are facts.

            It is actually really sad that fans have been deprived of great racing through such immaturity.

            I have no doubt however that Max Mosely played a hand in that final. None at all. Read the transcripts. There was an aristocratic level of hate there that spanned hundreds of years.

          11. One further point

            McLaren went in a downhill slide from the spy gate damage.

            Hamilton made a terrible mistake fixing a long term contract when he did as evidenced by being right there at all times bar 2011 yet finding time and time again, the car failing. His best year was 2010 frankly and a wheel bearing let’s go? I mean really! 2012 – everyone rightly loads Alonsos year but not many notice Hamilton went out of five races in the lead, or out paced his team mate, a champion by an embarrassing level (half the grid or lapping him) for half the year. All he gets is criticism for the one time his reaction when his team mate out paced him at spa! And got the only pole he ever got. Frankly the effort that went into making Button look good that year and not totally humiliated should have won them the lot.

            Now everyone can argue what came after made up for it but the missives by all punters about how stupid he was for leaving such a winning team?

            All that stated when FA let off his bomb

            Sad frankly

          12. Would Hamilton still have been considered “good enough” had he finished 3rd on 2nd place countback?

            Not if his teammate had finished ahead of him.

            And Lewis did indeed show himself “as not good enough” in 2016. Didn’t run away after, under different circumstances.

            But Alonso can hardly be blamed for making the choice to go there, when none of this was known.

            I don’t blame Fred for going to McLaren. I do point to the fact that despite driving the fastest car, he didn’t win the WDC and lost to his teammate, too.

          13. Sorry I do not understand that comment?

            2016 he got more poles wins and podiums than his team mate?

            His team mate ran away despite winning the championship through clear reliability issues.

            He can hardly be criticised for staying in under a new set of regulations and winning again.

            FA – joined again and frankly endured a totally ridiculous few years for a man of his talent.

            He inherited the mess he had created in 2007 – as evidenced by being beaten regularly and driving around at the back of the grid.

            We, the fans, paid for that.

          14. Sorry I do not understand that comment?

            Which part is in question?

            Was Lewis in the best car in 2016? Yes.
            Did Lewis win the 2016 WDC? No.
            Did Lewis get beat by his teammate? Yes.

            So Lews in 2016 was “not good enough”, as per my earlier definition.

            As for Fred, I think it’s a travesty that he is still listed as the winner of the 2008 Singapore GP.

  6. Anthony Blears
    9th February 2023, 23:29

    Build him up preseason, smack him down in the races.

  7. Anything is “Possible”… not “probable”.

  8. There is kissing the backside of the boss, then there is this – I want to hear Alonso’s radio this year when Lance makes one of his signature blocking moves on him.

    1. It’s gonna be great!

  9. All he needs is a car that is a second faster than the 2nd best car, and a team-mate who is slower than him (probably on purpose). Well, having guys like Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc etc. missing half a season for whatever reason wouldn’t hurt his chances as well..
    Usually I don’t like being this facetious, but it’s not me who started it.

    1. You sure he’ll make it with car that’s only a second faster?

      1. I’m pretty sure he will but doesn’t change the fact alonso’s comment is ridiculous.

  10. Well, I personally have not seen much of that potential in Lance, but Fernando is a world champion himself and knows what it takes, and works with the guy day to day. OK, the family bucks are there to keep him in the car, but surely if there was no hope, he would not have kept the drive so long. It would be at least very amusing to see Lance beat everybody’s expectations, including mine.

    1. surely if there was no hope, he would not have kept the drive so long

      Lance Stroll has yet to beat his teammate, any teammate, across a full season, and he’s had 6 chances so far.

      1. We know very well why he “kept the drive for so long”. When you buy a car you get to keep it for as long as you want. He doesn’t have to prove anything or do anything. Why? With his results, no one would keep his drive in F1, Lance would’ve been gone some years ago. His first season was bad, really bad, but OK, he was a rookie (not that it matters much these days, you don’t get second chances). His second season confirmed it, and the rest is just the continuation of this mockery. Perhaps the “pundits” can’t say it bluntly, but we don’t have to pretend. His daddy bought a team (and even a car manufacturer) only so the boy could play. He bought a team and kicked a talented driver out, replaced him with his boy instead. That’s why Lance is here, not because he deserves more time to prove something.

  11. I see what you did there with the main photo for this story lolololol

  12. I wish I had Alonso as a referee on my CV.

  13. I actually think Lance is pretty good, just not great at setting up a car or communicating feedback successfully to his engineers; give him the car the way he likes it and he usually does well, his wet performances and Baku show he does have something. Listening to his radio, when he is off the pace and chewing through more tyres than the rest of the grid combined, then you can hear some Yuki type of nonconstructive anger to his engineer. I think with a car and a team capable of tuning it to his liking he would be hover around the top 10 of current drivers on the grid, certainly worse drivers in the current field.

    So if Alonso’s role is to help AM make a car with a better setup window then it should work out better for Lance.

    1. I saw him in the 2014 wintergames in Florida which he encounters Max Verstappen i never had the feeling Lance was any good.
      Italy Antonio Fuoco 2 2 1 1 11 5 1 5 1 2 4 5
      Canada Nicholas Latifi 3 NC 5 7 1 12 4 1 2 1 1 2
      Netherlands Max Verstappen 4 Ret 8 2 7 1 3 Ret 3 4 5 1
      Netherlands Dennis van de Laar 1 Ret 3 4 4 3 Ret 4 5 Ret 3 Ret
      Colombia Tatiana Calderón Ret 1 6 5 5 6 6 6 6 9 10† Ret
      United Kingdom Ed Jones 6 3 2 3 6 2 5 3 8 3 2 3
      Italy Raffaele Marciello 5 Ret Ret 8 2 11 2 7 4 5 Ret 4
      Canada Lance Stroll 7 4 4 6 3 4 Ret 2 7 Ret DNS DNS
      Poland Alex Bosak 10 5 7 10 Ret 7 Ret 10 11 6 9† 7
      Russia Vasily Romanov 9 6 10 10 8 8 7 8 9 Ret 6 8
      Japan Takashi Kasai 11 7 11 11 9 9 8 9 10 7 8 6
      United Kingdom Oliver Marriage 8 7 9
      United Kingdom Ben Anderson 8 Ret 9
      United Kingdom Will Buxton 12 10 10

      Even Latiffi was beter ….

  14. Two time world champion makes his debut as a stand up

  15. This is a further example of Fernando’s “talk up the teammate prior to destroying them so I look awesome” tactic that has served him so well over the years.

    Stroll is no mug, podiums and a pole prove that, but he’s not world champion material and Alonso knows that.

    1. Yeah this is pretty easy to see if you look at his past history.

    2. I agree that he doesn’t mean Stroll could be a world champion, but I’m unconvinced that Alonso will actually destroy him. I myself see a slight improvement in Stroll season per season, and Alonso is no longer at his peak, and at this age, although you can’t confirm it, he likely will steadily get worse. He wasn’t without poor races last season and sometimes Ocon simply just had better speed (although alonso deserved to beat him)

      I think Stroll will be about as close to Alonso as he was to vettel, which wasn’t all that far off.

  16. He’d first need to get a winning-capable car & even in this scenario, he wouldn’t necessarily outscore certain other drivers over a season.

  17. It’s a shame that Stroll drives in an era where wet weather racing is basically no longer allowed – I think perceptions of him would be a bit more positive if he was allowed to perform in the conditions where he truly excels.

    In the dry, however, he’s very ordinary, and seems to have become more erratic over the last year or so too. World championship material? Only if the entire championship is moved to the English Lake District for some reason.

    1. If we think about not so good drivers that were good in the wet the first name I can think of is barrichello, not a bad driver and could’ve won a title if given a golden opportunity (the one irvine had in 1999), but otherwise unlikely.

  18. This is how a man speaks, when he has zero doubts about who is buttering both sides of his bread.

    Keep hustling, graybeard. <3

  19. Hah, what a PR stunt by Alonso!

    Alonso >>>>>>>>>>> Hamilton in every possible way imaginable

    1. Clearly not in any stats in the sport.

  20. On the Marbles
    10th February 2023, 8:23

    New hired hand says Bosses son is super talented and really great….

    What else would one expect him to say?

  21. This is a trait from the all time greats: Never ever underestimate your opponent. No matter how laughable they may seem to others.

    Let’s hope team Stroll plays it fair by not choosing to jeopardise Alonso’s race strategy in order to make Stroll look good. Seb was very upset about that in his final race as the team lost out in the Constructor’s Championship. I hope Alonso has taken note.

  22. Stroll had pole position in Turkey 2020 but the race is yet an other example why he is not championship worthy. Still its not impossible if he gets a dominant car and a number 1 status in the team. Don’t understand why Alonso is wasting his time at AM

  23. Can’t beat a compliment to ramp up the pressure on a new team mate.

  24. I’m really curious to read @todfod take on this. If Ocon is a mediocre driver, what is Stroll? And how can Alonso praise him so much?

    1. @x303
      Just building him up before he starts destroying him.. that’s Fernando’s favourite tactic. I’m pretty sure he praised Ocon as well before he started smashing him regularly.

  25. Always a good move in your job to compliment the boss’s son!

  26. There’s no way Alonso’s stint at Aston Martin is going to be anything but hilarious. Can’t wait to see what happens when Stroll impedes him/gets favourited via strategy!

  27. El Plan…
    Phase 1: hype him before the game
    Phase 2: destroy him during the game
    Phase 3: next El plan…

  28. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm………………………..

  29. @x303

    This is Alonso just hyping up his teammate before he destroys him in every Fp session, quali and raceday. He’s also his boss’ son

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