Former F1 driver Mark Webber has weighed in on the comeback of his contemporary, Fernando Alonso, who has rejoined the F1 circuit this season. While Webber considers himself to be a fan of the Spaniard, he is not convinced that it is a good idea to return to the pinnacle of motorsport at 39 years of age.
"In F1 you have to always be prepared and he knows it. That's my doubt. Can Fernando beat 25-year-old Fernando today?," said Webber in an interview with Marca.
It may be remembered that Alonso won double world titles with the Renault F1 Team way back in 2005 and 2006. He then went on to have a comparatively lacklustre career in F1 while driving for Mclaren, back with Renault and with Ferrari. He was back with Mclaren in 2019 when he decided to hang up his racing gloves.
However, 2021 signalled a much-talked about comeback with the Alpine Team, which is incidentally a renamed Renault outfit. In other words, he is back with the team that gave him his double world championships some 15 years ago.
"I do not question Fernando's motivation. He is extraordinary, very versatile with many types of cars, but Formula 1 does not understand patience. It's the pinnacle, you can't just apologise and say: 'I need more time'," said Webber.
The Australian said that there is bound to be a difference in performance even if Alonso now comes with a lot of experience. "Is he really that fast, so brave? It is a question that only he can answer," said Webber.
Alonso's return has not been ideal so far, scoring only one point in two races. However, a lot of it also has to do with the fact that the car itself is not as competitive as he would have hoped. Webber compared the situation to MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, who is now struggling to keep up with new competitors after a long illustrious career.
"I'm always positive with him, but the facts are different. Look at Valentino Rossi. He is suffering, it is horrible, I hate to see him like that, I refuse to see him like that," lamented Webber.
It is only two races into the current season, and it remains to be seen if Alonso can turn things around. He still has a lot of fans rooting for him, including other drivers like Webber.