Otmar Szafnauer has hinted the age could catch up to Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard secured his 99th podium in Formula 1 at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion chose to leave Szafnauer’s Alpine team at the end of the 2022 season to join Aston Martin. That move sparked the controversial Oscar Piastri saga which ended in the Australian heading to McLaren and Pierre Gasly eventually filled Alonso’s spot.
After Alpine struggled in Bahrain and Alonso thrived for his new team, Szafnauer was keen to point out that the Spaniard is nearer the end of his career than the start.
“I can only see what I can see from the outside,” Szafnauer said. “I think he’s still highly motivated and this is what he lives for.
“The question will be, age catches up with all of us and I’ve no idea when or if that is going to happen.”
This comes after Alonso’s teammate, Lance Stroll, was caught appearing to poke fun at Alpine in the media pen after the opening race of the 2023 season.
Stroll himself enjoyed a good start to the season after missing pre-season testing due to injuries he still suffered from at Sakhir.
He eventually finished sixth in between the two Mercedes drivers in his first proper laps in the car.
Half a second
Esteban Ocon‘s race started poorly and then went very quickly downhill as he was slapped with three different penalties during the 2023 Bahrain GP.
Szafnauer explained how they were all simply operational errors that were only fractionally over the line.
“The grid penalty was, I think, for being out of position at the start of the race,” Szafnauer continued. “And then I think we were half a second off or less before we started working on the car.
“That was just a timing issue. We have a system that counts down into the mechanic’s ears to tell them when they can start and that was offset by four-tenths of a second.
“Anyway, it then spiralled out of control and the third one was a pit speed limiter being half a metre off early on the exit, that’s all it was.
“They were all operational errors that we should not make at this level and we won’t make them again.”