Eddie Jordan believes that Fernando Alonso should have been an eight-time Formula 1 World Champion, blaming him for ill-advised career decisions, but believes the great Spaniard can win again this year with Aston Martin.
Not a new revelation by any means, as that’s a common sentiment up and down the paddock, among Alonso’s fans and neutrals; a stellar F1 career marred by bad choices resulting in failed potential, would be an apt summary, thus far…
In a lengthy interview with OLBG, on the subject of Alonso, Jordan recalled: “I remember seeing Fernando pass Michael Schumacher from the outside on a damp track on a really difficult corner in Suzuka, Japan, and I said ‘oh my god, how can he get away with that!
“Alonso pulled the move off and I thought from there that he was destined for greatness. I actually blame him for not winning four, six, or maybe even eight-time F1 world champion; he should have picked his teams better.
“In his thirties, Alonso went for money when he could have gone a different route. Now he’s come back to the understanding that he has a team around him that has enough to make the car finish well, but he won’t beat the Red Bulls. I believe he will win races this year.”
On the evidence of the F1’s opening races of the 2023 season, in Bahrain and Jeddah, Alonso is the only driver close to the pace-setting Red Bulls, whose drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez have finished 1-2 then 2-1 respectively in race one and race two.
Jordan: There doesn’t seem to be any flexibility in F1
The common denominator: Alonso P3 on both occasions and boy did they make the last one a tough one at the most recent Saudi Arabian Grand Prix; multiple dubious penalties during the race resulted in a farcical hour or so after the race in Jeddah in which the FIA Stewards took center stage and fluffed their lines demoting Alonso to fourth, then reversing the call. It was proper amateur hour.
Jordan reflected on the ongoings in Jeddah: “It’s one of those things, it was very harsh. The first penalty, when you say Fernando Alonso is nine-inches to the side of the position, he’s not further forward or gaining an advantage.
“The box the FIA has created is so difficult for the drivers to see it when they’re sitting so low and the car is up against their ears with the halo covering their vision.
“Having served the five-second penalty, then to say the jack touched the car which then gave another penalty, it was an incredibly harsh decision and it had no leniency. If it’s football, you get a warning and are told: if you do that again then you’ll get a red card.
“There doesn’t seem to be any flexibility in Formula 1. There has to be some element of human understanding in the sport, if someone breaks the rules and does gain an advantage, then of course you should get a penalty. If there is a human error, no advantage gained or no bad intentions, then the stewards need to look at it in a different way,” reckoned Jordan.
Jordan: Alonso got whipped by an unbelievable Red Bull car
As for the season of another 23 races ahead, the 74-year-old Irishman has advice for Alonso: If I was Fernando, I know I would have a very fast and reliable car that can get him on the podium, which he’s proven twice already. You can’t get there by fluke, his speed is obvious.
But I would look at the gap between him and Sergio Perez at the end of the race, the tyres were similar. If I was Alonso, I’d be targeting Perez and seeing how to get into his space and head.
“It was a very good start from Alonso, but Perez made a great move and pulled away, despite the fact Alonso was desperate to hold onto the DRS, he got whipped by an unbelievable Red Bull car.
“It would probably happen again because keeping up with the Red Bull is too much for Aston Martin at the moment,” predicted Jordan, ahead of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix, next up on 4 April at Albert Park, in Melbourne.
Ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix in Melbourne, the venue where Alonso made his F1 debut for Minardi in 2001, the veteran Spaniard on Sunday lines up 359th start in the top flight. And hunting his 101st podium, or better still his 33rd F1 victory.