Fernando Alonso’s Achilles heel on his return to Formula 1 is exposed at the Spanish GP

Fernando Alonso, during a tire change

Fernando Alonso, during a tire change
Fernando Alonso, during a tire change
XPB / James Moy Photography Ltd.

The team Alpine It was one of the teams that misread the Spanish GP and what was the optimal strategy. Even if Montmeló is, historically, a two-stop race, the French like Red bull they tried to do only one and when they wanted to react it was too late. The result was disastrous: in the last laps Esteban Ocon fell to the final 9th ​​place (it could have been a 7th, at least) and Fernando Alonso he sank to 17th, although in his case he made two stops at the end and not one like the Frenchman.

Fernando Alonso at the Spanish GP

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When Alonso entered to do the second he had already fallen from the points, so it was both 13th and 17th. In addition, the poor performance that he already showed there with wrecked medium tires might have ended up sinking him even more, behind the wheels. Haas.

Strategy is Alpine’s responsibility, but Alonso’s problems with the wheels are not explained only in the decisions of the wall. At this circuit, Ocon has been much more consistent and it is not the first time. In the adaptation of Spanish to the return of F1 there is a subject that is still not managing to overcome.

Alonso and the tires: the first fight of Alonso and Stroll

One of the rivals that Fernando Alonso had in this Spanish GP was Lance Stroll. The canadian of Aston martin advanced twice to the Spanish, first after the restart after the safety car and at the end of the race when Alonso was already without tires.

Fernando Alonso gets out of his car at the Spanish GP

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It was in the first incident that something was wrong. After a few laps after the ‘safety’, the wheels suffer a sudden cooling, which affects their grip and, therefore, their behavior. Formerly the Pirelli they managed to recover the optimum temperature point much earlier, but with the progressive hardening of its compound, it costs more and more. This explains why Alonso, who resumed the race without major problems, went long in his defense over Stroll, when he was struggling to maintain 10th place. That overtaking forced him to go on the defensive with respect to his rivals, such as Sebastian Vettel, and then the strategy just screwed up everything.

Fernando Alonso, at a press conference

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Alonso has admitted difficulties so far this season in tire management. The temperature range for optimal behavior it is much narrower now that when he left and the absence of a pre-season in conditions or more workouts is taking its toll. Partly that’s why he dedicates Fridays to a different work plan than Ocon, for example.

Montmeló happened, in Portimao and before in Imola. Being the judges of current Formula 1 (the best proof of this is Hamilton’s own victory), knowing how to manage the Pirelli separates a good result from a bad one. Especially when you are wearing an Alpine and not a Red Bull.

Alonso is not the only one who is suffering in this sense and all those who have changed teams since 2020 are suffering. In case of Sergio perezWith the other Red Bull, it’s obvious: a rider who routinely stood out for his ability to stretch optimal performance of the wheels is seriously hurting in his switch to the energy drink team.

Each Grand Prix that passes will reduce these problems. Alonso himself asks for time and patience to finish adaptingBut as soon as he does, Ocon’s advantage will be reduced. The focus is still 2022 and in races where this factor is not so vital, it can give the bell. Monaco, next appointment of the year, for example.

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