Alonso predicts ‘very intense’ fight… behind Verstappen

Fernando Alonso had good news and bad news for Formula 1 fans following the opening days of pre-season testing. While the Aston Martin driver expects the competition will be “very intense” behind Max Verstappen in 2024, he thinks every other driver on the grid already knows they won’t win the championship this season.

Verstappen set the pace on the opening day in the new RB20 that marks a clear departure from last year’s design, and although Carlos Sainz then comfortably bettered it as lap times dropped on day two, the consensus among the teams was that Red Bull has at least maintained last year’s advantage. Alonso says that means the drivers know they can’t fight for the title, including Sergio Perez in his opinion that Verstappen is a certainty to win the championship.

“I don’t have a crystal ball to know what the others are doing,” Alonso said. “I think Max is the world champion and Red Bull is dominating the sport. The concept that they presented this year, it’s also a surprise. At the moment, we just have to watch them and see how they perform.


“I think 19 drivers in the paddock now will think that [they] will not win the championship. It happens 99% of the time in your career. This is a brutal sport.”

Despite that assessment, Alonso believes Aston Martin has made good progress with its own car this winter and is set to be part of an extremely close fight behind Verstappen.

“It’s always an incredible feeling when you are behind these cars and you test, for the very first time, your team and your car for the next 11 months of this year. It’s very intense at the moment because everything is compressed into one day and a half for each of us, and you try and figure out where you are in terms of order. Lots of things going on — it’s good fun.

“Definitely the car is a step forward; the car feels better, more performance, so yeah we are happy with the data and we are happy with the feeling but I think everyone made a step forward this year. I think we also see the concepts of the cars and some of the ideas are now more or less the same for everybody, so I think it’s going to be very tight and very intense.”

Story originally appeared on Racer