Mercedes’ F1 rivals ’always lose’ - Alonso
"We’re still one lap behind in every race"
Formula 1 is perhaps the most unfair sport on earth, according to two-time champion Fernando Alonso.
"I was surprised on Saturday," the 40-year-old Spaniard said, after Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton overcame multiple grid penalties by racing through the entire field to fifth.
The seven time world champion then won the main race on Sunday.
"I mean, I think we were all surprised that a driver has 25 penalty places on the grid in one weekend and still wins the race," Alonso added.
"It is what it is."
But the Alpine driver, who has raced in Formula 1 since 2001 and took a two-year sabbatical in 2019 and 2020, says the situation is actually nothing new.
"As a driver, it’s like playing basketball and there’s one basket for you and one for the others. They (Mercedes) score their points with a bigger basket and you have to score yours with a smaller one," Alonso said.
"So you always lose," he insisted.
"I am lucky to have won two championships and I was privileged to have been in that position. I was also at Toyota in the WEC and had that kind of superiority in the car.
"But I just imagine young children watching this sport and seeing one car pass two others in the straight line. We shouldn’t let them lose hope that they can be champions.
"We are all as committed to the sport," Alonso continued, referring to the drivers. "We train a lot, we work in the simulator, we risk our lives every time.
"But we’re still one lap behind in every race, and we know before we even go to Qatar. It’s really the only sport in which something like this happens."
However, he said there is hope for the 2022 regulations, with the intention being to "make the sport a little fairer".
"I don’t know if it will work," Alonso admitted.
Interestingly, Alonso’s view was not shared by at least two of his rivals - Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
"I don’t agree," said Ferrari’s Leclerc. "Obviously Lewis has a very strong car at the moment, but I think he managed to go beyond what that car could give."
Teammate Sainz added: "Yes, I saw this debate all over social media today.
"Why don’t we talk about a combination of both? A great driver, an enormously talented driver, with a car that was really dominant this weekend."
Meanwhile, Alpine has confirmed that Oscar Piastri will be the team’s reserve in 2022, raising the prospect of fellow academy member Guanyu Zhou’s signing by Alfa Romeo.
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