It's safe to say the 2023 Formula One season is off to an exciting start. While many are watching the early domination of Red Bull (Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez,) others, myself included, are focused on the British racing green rocketship (Aston Martin) driven by motorsport legend Fernando Alonso.
Image source: https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/alonso-other-f1-teams-lack-core-quality-that-has-helped-aston-martin-/10440480/
The two-time world champion surprised all with his 3rd place finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix in early March. While it was a surprise to see an Aston Martin in the top 3, especially how their season went in 2022, it makes sense considering the team has pushed hard to get an aerodynamic advantage using the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 wind tunnel. Not to mention, Aston Martin uses Mercedes power units.
I have many opinions about the performance of the Mercedes in comparison to the Aston Martin, but I'll save those thoughts for another time.
Image Source: https://www.planetf1.com/news/felipe-drugovich-mercedes-v-aston-martin-bahrain/
Fast forward to last weekend, Aston Martin and Alonso would again show dominance against the rest of the field during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. With the Red Bull of Sergio Perez crossing the line to take the checkered flag, Max Verstappen fought from 15th to an impressive 2nd place finish, and across the line in 3rd was none other than Fernando Alonso, which was his 100th podium in Formula One.
However, during the post-race celebrations, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) would give Alonso a 10-second time penalty. The reason for this penalty? The race stewards decided that the rear jack had been in contact illegally with the car while serving a previous penalty for a grid-box infringement. This would move Alonso from 3rd to 4th, giving George Russell the podium spot. The penalty decision would later be overturned, and 3rd would be given back to Alonso.
Image Source: https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/articles/single-seaters/f1/alonso-brings-excitement-in-fight-to-podium-as-verstappen-wins-bahrain-gp/?v=3e8d115eb4b3
With the fantastic performance so early in the season and new upgrades being worked on for the Aston Martin, could we see Alonso on the top of the podium in 2023? I hope so. With his Formula One career start in 2001, championships in 2005 & 2006, and experiences at different teams (Minardi, Renault, Ferrari, McLaren, Alpine), the fire to win still burns. Alonso carries excellent knowledge of speed, and his performance shows all drivers that age is just a number.
Image Source: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.breaking-alonso-loses-p3-and-100th-f1-podium-after-receiving-10s-penalty-in.4QbFJtlN8sUWqQXt4jJmmR.html