Alonso envisages “a new championship” of the GP of France after a “difficult” start for the return to F1
Fernando Alonso hopes the French Grand Prix will represent “a new championship” for him after a difficult return to Formula 1 so far.
The two-time world champion scored two points in the first five races, his best result being eighth in Portugal, as he and the other drivers who changed teams or joined the grid in 2021 were disadvantaged by a lack of testing .
And Alonso admitted that while his love for F1 is still as high as it ever was, the race was tougher than expected.
“I honestly think the amount of joy and excitement is probably higher than I expected,” said the Spaniard. Runner. “I really enjoy every ride there.
“And I enjoy the preparation, I enjoy the car setup meetings – I enjoy the things that used to be the worst part of the weekend.
“Now I’m really even enjoying that about the weekend. Not only the track time, but the off-piste that I’m also enjoying a bit more than in the past.
“Then on the driving and the results… Maybe I found it a little more difficult than I had probably expected,” he admitted.
“It wasn’t that I took it for granted that results came automatically.
“I knew preparation was needed and the hours in the 2018 simulator and testing in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi were needed, so I had anticipated that, but I’m still struggling to maximize the car’s potential.”
Highlighting Alonso’s early struggles is his battle with Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon, who outclassed and beaten Fernando in every race except Bahrain.
“I think he’s good and we’re seeing it,” he said of Ocon via Motorsport.com. “He is in very good shape and, at the moment, fully integrated into the team.
“[He was on the] podium last year in Bahrain, in the last part of the championship, and now he’s giving perfect weekends. So it’s very good, it’s impressive what he’s doing now.
“I’m giving myself 100% and obviously it’s not enough to be at this level right now, so I have to keep improving.”
According to the 39-year-old, the variety of circuits F1 has raced on so far is also hampering Alonso’s progress, making it more difficult to adapt.
“Baku is [coming at] a little unlucky, “he said.” In a way, the start of the season is not the best possible schedule for a new [or] to come up [back] driver.
“I had Imola, I had Portimao, two circuits that I hadn’t raced in years, or never, like in Portimao, whereas the guys were racing months ago in the championship.
“[There are] two urban circuits, Baku and Monaco, therefore [of] the first six races of the championship, four are extremely hard to get used to.
“Of France [at Paul Ricard], I hope a new championship starts for me. “