Prost: Alonso back to his best after F1 absence

Four-time world champion and Alpine Formula 1 team advisor Alain Prost believes that Fernando Alonso is back to his best after his two-year break.

Prost: Alonso back to his best after F1 absence

Like other top drivers who joined new teams for 2021 Alonso has acknowledged that he needed time to get up to speed, with his absence from F1 making his task even more difficult.

At Paul Ricard last weekend the Spaniard had a feisty race to eighth, crossing the line less than two seconds shy of sixth-placed Daniel Ricciardo. The French GP result followed a strong sixth place in Baku, where Alonso passed three cars after the restart.

Prost, who missed the 1992 season before returning to win the following year’s World Championship with Williams, acknowledged how hard it is to get fully up to speed after a break.

“I always remember when I stopped for what was really only six months in fact in '92, how difficult it was to come back,” Prost told Motorsport.com.

“But we were testing every week, we were testing all time. So it was obvious that Fernando could not be at the top at the beginning.

“It's a new car, new team, and also not driving F1 for two years. He had the target of the French GP more or less, saying ‘Okay, well, I need four or five races.’ It's nothing special, it's a normal way. Now he's back, for sure.”

Read Also:

Prost admitted that he found it hard to adjust after his return from his break in 1992.

“Yes, because the first tests were different, it was difficult physically, physiologically. Sometimes you're a little bit surprised that you think that you can make it. And you need to get time to get everything correct. The automatism, and the vision and everything, I found it difficult.

“So I realised how difficult it must be for someone like Fernando who did not F1 for two years. And then you have only one day and a half testing with the new car, with all the systems you need to understand.

“I don't know if the age is a criteria. But in the case of Fernando he very strong, he is still in good shape. It's more the fact that it's normal, driving F1, the best car in the world. If he was at the top immediately, it would not be normal, honesty.”

Prost admitted that the Enstone team was struggling to understand why Alonso had a strong run at Paul Ricard while his teammate Esteban Ocon faded to 14th.

“Fernando did a good race, a good result. We could have done just a little bit better, because he was catching up, but it was difficult to overtake. We did not have a good pit stop. So we need to improve everything."

“Esteban had more problems with the tyres. It was not a good result, not a good race for him, but it looks like some cars in different teams also had similar problems.

“It is really, really difficult to understand everything and to solve it, because sometimes it starts as a small problem, then it becoming bigger. We don't know. But it is really not what we expected in terms of tyres. It's the same for Ferrari, it's depending on cars, depending on drivers.”

Prost added that Alpine’s overall form this year had been impacted by the postponement of the new regulations from 2021 to 2022, with the former Renault team having made choices that compromised the current package.

“We had to postpone everything by one year. So for us, it's difficult, we have an extra pressure because we did not improve the car and the engine because we’re waiting for next year.

"So it's not a surprise that we are not completely at the top. Everything is getting all together, but it's still a long way to go, for sure.”

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton: Defending harder against Verstappen was "pointless"

Previous article

Hamilton: Defending harder against Verstappen was "pointless"

Next article

Red Bull: France F1 win disproves rear wing and tyre ‘accusations’

Red Bull: France F1 win disproves rear wing and tyre ‘accusations’
Load comments
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021