Fernando Alonso was The picture of happiness this Sunday. More than 15 months later, the Asturian pilot got on a podium in a Formula 1 race, and his celebration showed how much he has suffered during a period that has become too long. Although even more important than its third place were the benefits offered by Aston Martin, a car to fight for podiums, for victories in each Grand Prix… and who knows if for something else.
The images of Alonso’s celebration were undoubtedly revealing. At 41 years old, and with everything already won, he showed an excessive euphoria: he hugged the engineers and mechanics and, after getting off the podium, he went to his team’s box with the cup in his hand that certifies his third place for celebrate again with the whole team.
He Aston Martin’s success is not the result of chance, but a strong investment and a key name. The stellar signing of the engineer Dan Fallows –A Briton who was forged alongside Adrian Newey, the ‘guru’ of aerodynamics and responsible for Red Bull’s great successes between 2010 and 2013– has been a huge step forward. His arrival convinced Alonso at the time, and it is obvious that the Spaniard’s bet was successful.
It should be remembered that the Asturian changed the fourth team from the past World Cup, Alpine, for the seventh, Aston Martin. It seemed like a step backwards, too risky a bet for a 41-year-old driver, but the results of both teams in Bahrain – for the French, it was an absolute disaster – have proved Fernando Alonso right.
The Spanish signed his 99th podium, and everything indicates that 100 will not take long in falling Although his great challenge now is none other than to win a race again, something that has not happened for almost ten years, when he prevailed, at the wheel of a Ferrari, in the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12, 2013.
“This is a very nice car to drive,” said the Spaniard on the radio at the end of the race, the most obvious sign that he is finally enjoying Formula 1 again, something that hasn’t happened for too long.
After the podium in Bahrain, a question now hangs over the Formula 1 atmosphere. Can Fernando Alonso put up a fight against the Red Bulls and fight for the World Cup? Max Verstappen was much superior in the first GP of the season, but the year is very long and Aston Martin has room for improvement.
He was one of the pilots of the Austrian team, Checo Perezthe one who spoke openly about a detail that has not gone unnoticed by anyone in the paddock: the resemblance between the Red Bull and the Aston Martin. “It’s nice to see three Red Bull cars on the podium“, he said ironically at the press conference of the three members of the podium. A joke that alluded to the similarity between the design of the Red Bull and that of the Aston Martin, and that was not the only reference: “We have had three Red Bull on the podiumonly the last one with a different engine”, said for his part Marko Helmutveteran expilot and adviser to the Austrian team.
The architect and great person in charge of Alonso’s car is Dan Fallows, former head of aerodynamics at Red Bull, and without a doubt his time at the Austrian team may have had some influence on the design of the AMR23something that is obviously not illegal.
Beyond a controversy about the similarities between the two cars that is not going anywhere, the only certain thing is that the Aston Martin is fast and reliable. And led by Alonso, happy in his new team, it has become a serious problem for Red Bull, to which an unexpected rival for the title has emerged. The next battle, on March 19 in Jeddah, where the Saudi Arabian GP will be held.