Fernando Alonso believes Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton‘s periods of dominance emerged as a result of regulations changes, not because they built good teams around them.
Verstappen and Hamilton have won the vast majority of Formula 1 races since 2019 and have claimed all but one of the F1 titles since 2014. Verstappen recently broke the record for the most consecutive wins with 10 at the 2023 Italian Grand Prix.
However Alonso, who has never had a period of dominance like the pair, attributed their periods of success to changes to F1 regulations; not to their own ingenuity when it comes to team-building.
“It’s something that has always been said, that there are drivers who build winning teams, but when Lewis came to Mercedes in 2013, he didn’t build anything,” Alonso said to The Telegraph. “It was just a change of regulations the following year and everything was built from there.
“In Max‘s case, when he went from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, Hamilton was still winning everything, Max didn’t build a winning Red Bull. In 2021 it was very tight between the two and now with the rule change last year, they are winning every race.”
The driver versus car debate is one of motorsport’s oldest competitions, with both sides of the argument claiming that one is significantly more important than the other.
Alonso makes it clear that his view is the driver is not the key factor but the team, and opportunity that those teams take, is why a driver can emerge with a run of untouchable dominance.
The Spanish driver is a good example as he has experienced title-winning Renaults, race-winning Ferraris, midfield Alpines and backmarker McLaren-Hondas, whilst his talent has not wavered enough to merit the contrasting fortunes.
“So I don’t know what they mean,” Alonso added. “It’s a sport of technical decisions, regulations or inspirations that often bring more than your data, information or driving style. You need to be in the right place at the right time.”