Alonso thinks Verstappen’s influence on Red Bull successes is limited: ‘He has not built a winning team at all’

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Alonso thinks Verstappen's influence on Red Bull successes is limited: 'He has not built a winning team at all'

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso does not believe that drivers have much influence on the successes of their team. It is often said that drivers such as Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, and Max Verstappen built a team around themselves at Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull Racing respectively, but Alonso does not agree with that theory and mainly points to the luck factor. .

Verstappen and Alonso had a similar start to their successes. In 2005, Alonso dethroned seven-time world champion Schumacher, while Verstappen dethroned seven-time world champion Hamilton sixteen years later. At the time of his first world title, Alonso was fifteen days younger than Verstappen at his first World Cup title. Both drivers took their second title a year later, but that’s where it ended for Alonso for the time being. Seventeen years later, he is still a two-time world champion, while Verstappen is likely to secure his third championship within weeks.

Hamilton and Verstappen benefited from rule changes

According to Alonso, the driver’s role in those successes is limited. “It’s always said that drivers build teams, but when Lewis (Hamilton, ed.) came to Mercedes, he didn’t build anything at all,” Alonso told The Telegraph. ‘There was simply a new regulation (in 2014, ed.) that built everything up for him.’ Mercedes dominated for years with those hybrid engines, resulting in eight constructors’ titles.

Although Verstappen spent five years at Red Bull before the team could compete for the title, Alonso believes that Verstappen did not play a decisive role in this either. ‘When Max (Verstappen, ed.) joined Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing, Hamilton still won everything. He didn’t build a winning Red Bull team at all. In 2021 it was very exciting between the two, and now that the rules have changed last year, Red Bull has won all races this season.’

The team behind the scenes is much more important to Alonso, and the driver has little influence on that, the Spaniard believes: “So I don’t know exactly what is meant when they say that you can build a team around a driver, because in this sport, technical choices, technical regulations, an idea from the design department or data from the wind tunnel are much more decisive than your own input, your feedback, your personality or your driving style. In the end you just have to be in the right place at the right time.’

Alonso is chasing title three

It has been more than ten years since Alonso took his 32nd and last victory in his own country, but the ambitious man from Oviedo will not lose sight of the big goal, the world title, for the time being. At 42 years old, Alonso will have to hope that the Aston Martin project will bring success. In any case, there is no lack of motivation with Alonso: ‘If you experience something negative in your career, or get negative results, you have to force yourself to keep doing certain things, but if you get good results, that’s easy. We need some bad choices from Red Bull so that they deviate from the right direction they have now chosen with their car. In addition, we ourselves need big steps with our own car. We have already taken a step last winter and I have a lot of confidence in this project.’ If Alonso wins the title in 2024, he would become the oldest world champion since Juan Manuel Fangio in 1957.

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