F1 analyst David Hobbs: We may have seen Fernando Alonso's last Formula 1 win
Silly season in Formula 1 was not kind to Fernando Alonso, and the F1 great might just have to get used to the fact that his days of winning races in Formula 1 are over.
That’s the word from NBC Sports Group F1 analyst and former F1 racer David Hobbs.
Speaking on a teleconference call to promote the network’s coverage of this weekend’s F1 Italian Grand Prix, Hobbs said: “I think we may have seen Fernando have his last Formula 1 win, which is a great disappointment not only to him but to a lot of us fans.
“Fernando is one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers and was on track to win four or five championships. And he ended up with a mere two — mind you, I’d take his two championships anytime.”
Alonso, whose last win came in 2013 in Spain, has spent much of this season saying that was only interested in a returning to F1 in 2018 in a car capable of winning. That certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to happen — all the seats on the top-three F1 teams appear to locked in.
Alonso, 36, has yet to reach the podium in three seasons with McLaren-Honda, and he’s had just one finish inside the top 10 this season. He was hoping Kimi Raikkonen would not be retaining his seat at Ferrari next year, thus starting a game of F1 musical chairs that could have resulted in Alonso landing in a ride with Ferrari, Mercedes or even Red Bull — three teams who have shown the ability to win during Alonso’s disappointing three years with McLaren-Honda.
“Fernando Alonso would have been bitterly disappointed two weeks ago when Kimi Raikkonen was confirmed as driving for Ferrari again (in 2018) because I really do think that he was hoping a drive might appear there for him,” Hobbs said. “McLaren-Honda has not performed anything like as well as it should have over the last three seasons.
“And even though Honda are making big noises about the car, the engine improving, I think it’s going to be very lucky for it to improve enough for him to win. We may have seen Fernando Alonso’s last Formula 1 win.”
There may be another route for Alonso to victory lane, Hobbs suggests.
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“I’m not absolutely convinced that we’ve seen his last win because I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t find a way if he really feels he has no hope in Formula 1 — which it kind of looks that way, at the moment,” Hobbs said. “He’s obviously not going to go to Mercedes. He’s not going to go to Ferrari, and the McLaren-Honda does not seem to be performing as well. There’s talk of him going to Renault, but they are still struggling and would have to make some big improvements to win next year.”
Then there’s the IndyCar option.
Alonso’s Indy 500 experience in May was with Andretti Autosport, a team that just happens to have a possible driver opening or two for 2018. Current Andretti driver and 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato is leaving to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan next season, and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi is said to be entertaining offers from other IndyCar teams, as well.
“He may well turn his talents to IndyCar, which he did earlier this year with the Indy 500, where he performed incredibly well,” Hobbs said.