A cult seems to be growing around Fernando Alonso, the two-time F1 world champion who returned to F1 in 2021 after two years away, turns 42 later this year. The cult of Fernando Alonso cheerleads his every move. The cult believes he has plenty more years left to achieve greatness and secure his sporting legacy. In reality, Alonso needs no cult, for he has always driven at a high level, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Fitness and age are not a problem for the modern sports star. The science behind nutrition and exercise is much more advanced than it has ever been. However, for any sports star seeking to extend their career, the old rules still apply. Look after your physical self and stay disciplined.
Motivation or lack of it is probably the biggest career killer for a top athlete, not including physical injuries. Alonso is lacking in neither, perhaps because he feels he has unfinished business in F1. Alonso underscored his driving pedigree most during his time at Ferrari. He dragged an uncompetitive Ferrari to wins and podiums that it should never have managed. However, he left abruptly after deciding the team did not have the ability to deliver a competitive machine.
Alonso spent a number of uncompetitive wilderness years in F1 before taking a two-year leave, returning when a seat was available. Alpine beckoned before a surprise switch to Aston Maritn. With Aston Martin Alonso is demonstrating he is as capable as ever, the best driver of his generation.
Alonso’s 2023 performances have emboldened the cult and the cult envisions Alonso can drive into his late forties. He probably can, but it depends on motivation and awareness, not just fitness. Legendary and two times F1 world champion Emmerson Fittipaldi is part of the Alonso cult and believes the Spaniard can race on for another 5-6 years. During a recent media interview Fittipaldi said of Alonso:
“Fernando is driving very well. I won my last race in the United States at the age of 47 and Alonso can reach that age at a high level. He is physically very well and is hungry for victory.”
“He’s the surprise of the season. It’s been a good surprise for the fans. I’m glad for Fernando that he’s driving so fast again. It’s difficult because Fernando retired for two years from F1, but he has come back strong.”
“Last year he was with Alpine, and he was quite strong, but now he is even better than last year. That’s great for racing.”
“The first thing he needs to do is keep his mental and physical health. You have to be fit and strong, but motivation is also essential. You have to stay motivated to compete and to win. And Fernando is extremely competitive.”
“I compare him to Roger Federer and his last two years when he was strong again. It was much better than most other players.”
“That’s the winning mindset, the mindset and the motivation. And Fernando is a good example.”
“He wanted to win at Indianapolis, so he went to Indianapolis and almost won. He wanted to win Le Mans and won Le Mans and now he wants to be competitive in F1 again.”
“I’m sure Fernando’s physical and mental fitness would allow him to drive for another five years and remain competitive.”
Every sporting career has a relatively short duration. At some point, the end will be in sight, and only Alonso will know when it is finally time to walk away from the adrenaline rush of F1. Formula One is a revolving door, many have walked through it, and many more are yet to follow. Only a few will leave a lasting and historical legacy, and Alonso is one of the select few.