Fernando Alonso with curious assessment of 2024 Japanese GP

Fernando Alonso brought his Aston Martin home in P6 at Suzuka

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Fernando Alonso has had a storied career in Formula 1, filled with memorable races and exceptional performances. Yet, the Spaniard has claimed the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix stands out for him as one of his best ever, ranking it alongside the pinnacle achievements of his career. 

His performance at Suzuka, where he secured a sixth-place finish after starting from fifth on the grid, was particularly gratifying given the competitive disadvantages Aston Martin face compared to their rivals.

Despite Aston Martin not being on par with the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, and Mercedes in terms of pace, Alonso‘s skilful driving ensured that he not only kept up with but also outperformed expectations.  He was especially adept at handling pressure from McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and MercedesGeorge Russell in the latter stages of the race.

“I think it was one of my best races, or my best weekends,” Alonso told Sky Sports F1. “I think it was very complete and very strong, very solid from free practice to the race, maybe the best of the last year or maybe even top five of my career.

“But it’s going to be completely anonymous. Everyone will forget by tomorrow this weekend that we had. I felt connected with the car, I think P5 yesterday that is completely out of position and P6 today is completely out of position. 

“We are definitely slower than Red Bull and Ferrari, they are in another league at the moment, but I think McLaren and Mercedes are faster than us. Mercedes did experiment a little bit with the car, the starting tyre today and a little bit bold strategy, but thanks to that we capitalised and gained that position.

“And Oscar, maybe he was not having the top speed to really attack me. But I think P6 is completely unrealistic. So I’m very happy.”

Alonso’s elation was not just confined to the race day in Japan. He demonstrated strong form throughout the weekend and earlier in the season, notably topping the timesheets in Free Practice 2 during the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

This performance was indicative of a positive trend for Alonso and Aston Martin, showcasing a potential that Alonso is keen to build upon. His ability to extract maximum performance from the AMR24, particularly in long runs where the car showed strength in tyre degradation, was a highlight​.

Long-term consequences for Alonso

The Spaniard’s results and his evident connection with the car this season reinforce his unique position within the F1 driver market, especially as his contract with Aston Martin is due to expire at the end of the 2024 season. 

Alonso, a two-time world champion, remains a coveted asset for any team due to his speed, experience, and commitment to excellence. 

Fernando Alonso during 2024 Japanese GP | Aston Martin F1 Team
Fernando Alonso during 2024 Japanese GP | Aston Martin F1 Team

While there has been speculation about his future, including possible links to Mercedes following Lewis Hamilton‘s switch to Ferrari, Alonso maintains a focus on the present, emphasising his dedication to Aston Martin as his first priority. 

He is evaluating his options, considering both his desire to continue competing at the highest levels and the potential for pursuing interests outside of Formula 1​.

Alonso’s reflections on the race and his future in the sport capture a racer who, despite being among the oldest on the grid, remains fiercely competitive and deeply passionate about racing. 

His performances, particularly at Suzuka, serve as a testament to his skill and determination, qualities that have defined his illustrious career. 

As Alonso looks ahead to the rest of the 2024 F1 season and beyond, his focus remains on achieving success with Aston Martin, leveraging the team’s potential, and exploring the possibilities that lie ahead in his remarkable racing journey.

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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