Fernando Alonso likes Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen’s attack mode racing in F1 but reckons his style makes a difficult balancing act.
Within F1, few conversations provoke more debate than the question of ‘who’s the best driver in the sport?’ With Alonso now almost in the ‘former F1 driver zone’, the Spaniard could answer it as a neutral fan, which he did when asked recently.
The two-time F1 champion was in Argentina with Toyota Gazoo Racing to drive the Super TC2000 touring cars, when he noted that it was difficult to compare drivers, but then added that he enjoys Verstappen’s ‘attack mode’ driving style in current times.
He, though, stated that the Dutchman’s style only makes it difficult for him to balance. “It is difficult to estimate who is the best driver,” Alonso was quoted by clarin.com. “The drivers who are in news, it is because they are strong and it is not by chance.
“In F1, it is very difficult to establish who is the best because it changes year by year and in addition the drivers change their saddle too. It is a mix – some are fast in the lap, others in the starts, others in the race performance, others are more aggressive.
“I could tell you that I like Max Verstappen. He is a driver that I like to follow, because he is always in attack mode. He is third and you know that he does not want to stay there and that he will look for second place, and so on.
“But it is also true that this attitude often takes away points and leads him or anyone like him to make mistakes. It is difficult to average.” That’s the one point which a lot of former racers and also current drivers state about Verstappen.
So far, Verstappen hasn’t been in the title fight, where any slight mistake can cost him dear. Something which Alonso knows well, whether on-track and or by off-track decisions. He has been often criticised for the team choices he has made in his career.
But the Spaniard states that he has little regret about the decisions as he did not have a crystal ball to see the future. “In the past, I made decisions that I thought were right,” said Alonso. “No one has the crystal ball when making decisions.
“In F1, there were five years of Red Bull and six of Mercedes. All of us who are not part of these teams, eventually made wrong decisions. But I do not regret anything I have lived.” Looking at the future as well, Alonso seems in no hurry to return – if at all.
“At this moment in my career, the challenge of competing in Daytona, Indianapolis, Le Mans, the Dakar and Pikes Peak is greater than staying in F1, knowing in February that I will be in No. 11 position and that in November I finish the championship in same place.
“I say that F1 is a parenthesis, because in 2021 there will be new rules and I will evaluate whether or not to return to that category.” Post leaving F1, Alonso has won Le Mans 24 Hours twice and took the WEC title too. He has his sights on Indy500 and Dakar Rally.
Here’s what Fernando Alonso was doing in Argentina
This story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by Darshan Chokhani