A third drivers’ championship more than 15 years after his second would be a fitting way for Fernando Alonso to round off his Formula 1 career, according to Aston Martin’s Pedro de la Rosa.
Alonso is currently third in the drivers’ standings after two consecutive podium finishes – the second being his 100th in F1 – and 14 points behind early leader Max Verstappen. The Spaniard won the second of his two championships in 2006, but former driver de la Rosa, who is now an ambassador for Aston Martin, believes the progress made by Aston Martin this season gives Alonso the most competitive car he has had in years.
“There are many world champions who lose their edge when they no longer have a competitive car,” de la Rosa said. “Fernando is not like that. He’s maintained his level and his motivation. To have achieved as many F1 podiums as he has and to still have that same hunger as when he first started, despite not having a competitive car for so many years, is something I really admire about him.
“It would be a dream come true to see Fernando crowned world champion again. He deserves it. Anything you do in life, if you give your best, sooner or later you will be rewarded – and Fernando has given his best for decades. When you consider the journey he’s been on, everything he’s put in and everything he’s been through, winning the world championship again would be a fitting finale to a remarkable F1 career.”
Although Alonso has often been labelled a fiery character to work with, de la Rosa believes his approach is more relaxed than he gets credit for.
“People don’t know who the real Fernando is,” he said. “They see that he’s extremely committed and focused, but what they don’t see, what they don’t realize, is how easy-going he is. He has a huge sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too seriously. It’s one of his strengths – he doesn’t feel pressure.
“When other drivers are nervous about what’s to come, Fernando isn’t. You’ll be with him moments before he’s about to race and he’ll be smiling, laughing and joking. He’s like a kid about to go to the park with his mates to play football – you wouldn’t think he’s about to drive an F1 car. He stays relaxed and that’s partly why, after all these years, he’s still able to compete at such a high level.”