Fernando Alonso reckons changes in power steering and few other things from Baku onward helped him feel more confident with the car in F1 2021.

The season that just finished saw the return of the two-time Formula One WDC, Alonso, after a 2-year sabbatical from F1, but not motor sport itself as he enjoyed the Indy 500, Le Mans 24 hours, Daytona 24 hours and the Dakar Rally.

An indifferent few seasons from 2014 to 2018 in F1 attributed to Alonso’s departure no doubt. All fans were pleased and curious to see how the Spanish racer would do in 2021, returning to Alpine having spent six seasons with them in their Renault guise and achieved so many glories back then, too many to list here.

It didn’t start too great however, a bike accident in March left him with a fractured jaw. All in all, a good season despite a quiet, inauspicious start in the early races. He acquitted himself well at Alpine, certainly from just before the mid part of the season and his battle with old foe Lewis Hamilton at the Hungaroring was one his season highlights.

It was a very good season and his best since 2014. For Alpine as a team, they finished 5th in the Constructors championship and they enjoyed a good battle with AlphaTauri throughout. Looking back, Alonso pinpoints steering wheel changes in Baku which helped him to extract more performance from the car.

“I think at the beginning of the year, definitely things were not easy for us,” said Alonso. “In my case, getting back to the sport, I was not 100% ready and confident to push the car to the limit. It took a few races until Baku probably, we made a few changes in the car on the power steering and the feeling with the front tyres were totally the thing that I was missing most so yeah, I think we made a huge step forward on that confidence level.

“And yeah, the season overall has been fantastic to me, you know, honestly super happy to come back into F1. I really enjoyed every single race on track but also off track I was happy and I enjoy every second and this is my best season from 2014 I think in terms of points and position. So you know definitely a good comeback, I think, and for sure more prepared for 2022,” summed up Alonso.

Certainly, he and the team made the F1 fraternity sit up and take notice. With the win of Esteban Ocon in Hungary and podium for Alonso in Qatar along with consistency in the points, only two races where Alpine failed to score at all, they could be ones to watch next year with new rules in the pipeline also.

The story was written by Neil Farell

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