Formula 1 peaked in 2000s, not Senna/Prost era, Alonso believes

Formula 1 reached its peak in the 2000s and the Ayrton Senna/Alain Prost era would be considered boring now, reckons Fernando Alonso

Formula 1 peaked in 2000s, not Senna/Prost era, Alonso believes

The 2005/06 F1 world champion believes the 1980s championship battles are viewed over-generously with hindsight.

A stern critic of recent F1, Alonso reckons many of the 2014-16 regulations' problems also compromised what many consider as the championship's halcyon period.

"Formula 1 at that time, it was very boring," he said of the Senna/Prost era.

"If you see a race now from '85, '88 or '92, you will sleep through the race because it was two McLarens, the fourth guy was lapped and there was 25 seconds between each car.

"There were 10 cars DNF because the reliability was so-so.

"Television figures, spectators are going down [now], like it was in these boring years in the '80s where Senna, Prost and these people were saving fuel, saving tyres and things like that, so it's exactly the same boring as it was at that time."

By contrast, he rates the manufacturer boom of the 2000s as F1's high point.

"I think Formula 1 grew up a lot," Alonso said of that period.

"A lot of manufacturers came into Formula 1 in the 2000s - BMW, Toyota, and there were many people coming.

"Television figures and the spectators were at the maximum.

"We opened Formula 1 to new countries - we raced in Korea, we raced in India, we raced in Singapore, two races in Spain - and that was the maximum.

"And we didn't understand that situation, probably. The costs were very high, technology was very high, some manufacturers pulled out."

Alonso also believes it is common for drivers to be reassessed more favourably after they retire.

"When you stop racing you transform into an idol, when you are racing you are criticised," he said.

"When you stop racing you are fantastic, it happened with Felipe [Massa], with [Mark] Webber.

"The people of the '80s - they're great champions, they are idols. And now in this generation [Lewis] Hamilton, [Sebastian] Vettel, they will be idols for the kids in go-karts now."

He added that his frustration with recent F1 regulations was that the performance available from the technology could not be fully exploited.

"The resources, the budgets of these teams, the technology we are using allows these cars to be fantastic machines and probably beyond any physics that the human being respects," said Alonso.

"Now we don't have that feeling. We have a car that is way too slow with no grip.

"So we are sitting in a single-seater but with the feeling of a GT."

But Alonso remains optimistic that the increased performance of the 2017 designs - which are intended to lap four-to-five seconds faster due to improved aerodynamics - will make F1 more to his taste.

"I think this will make that excitement of driving and this joy of driving, because we'll feel the grip and we can push in the corners," he said.

shares
comments
Renault Formula 1 team reveals launch date for 2017 car
Previous article

Renault Formula 1 team reveals launch date for 2017 car

Next article

Toro Rosso F1 team planning 24/7 schedule to be ready for testing

Toro Rosso F1 team planning 24/7 schedule to be ready for testing
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022