Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski has praised Fernando Alonso’s start to the 2021 season, believing that the Spaniard is back to his best after the two-time World Champion's excellent start to the season which has seen him score points in all but three of this year’s Grand Prix’s.
Alonso, who returned to the sport with the team that he won his two World Championships with, has endured a good start to his comeback campaign, with his opening lap heroics during Formula 1’s first-ever Sprint Qualifying seeing him move up from 11th on the grid to fifth on the opening lap of the event.
After finishing seventh in the Grand Prix, Budkowski, when asked by Formula1.com, stated that he believed that Alonso was back to his best, despite having a sluggish start to the season.
“Definitely,” said the Alpine executive director.
“It took him a few races, but he was conscious of it, and he worked hard with the team to rebuild that confidence and that performance, and now I think he’s just there, extracting the maximum from the car. “
“It was quite impressive to see him drive in Austria. The second race, the qualifying, he was really quick and without the unfortunate incident with Seb Vettel in qualifying, we think he would have easily scored a third row on the starting grid in Austria, which says a lot about how he’s back up to speed.”
The British Grand Prix weekend also saw the launch of the 2022 Formula 1 car, which will dramatically change the way the sport is run and looks and Budkowski is hopeful that with a year of practice under his belt as well as the change in the sport's regulations will help Alonso and Alpine move further up the grid in 2022.
“Fernando, the main reason for his return is next year. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t push as hard as possible this year, but he sees this year very, very much as a year to get back to his maximum level, but also work with the team, set up his crew and his habits, but also push the team and motivate them for next year.”