Alonso Comments On F1's Neglected Problem: 'Hopefully Someone Will Listen'

Sunday, 17 March 2024 at 19:30
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In one of his most recent interviews, Fernando Alonso discussed one of the problems that Formula 1 is currently facing.
If it weren't for Oliver Bearman's surprising debut, who took Carlos Sainz's seat for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the 2024 season would be the first in F1 history without a single new driver.
Nowadays, rookies don't have many chances to jump into F1 cars. The rules dictate that teams can organize testing only with cars that are two or more generations old.
This means that, outside of the Free Practice sessions in the calendar, rookies didn't have a chance to try the current generation of Formula 1 cars until this year. In 2023, a couple of teams finally launched their testing programs with 2022 generation cars. Alonso said:

"It will be good to see a little bit more testing happening and there are a couple of the big teams that they can afford to run an old car and set a programme like maybe for F2 drivers."

"[Kimi] Antonelli, I read that he will do a program this season. Some big teams, they can afford that but [it's] still not proper preparation and testing. This is the way the sport is at the moment and we have so many races and the teams."

As Alonso highlights, not all teams can set up testing for their rookie drivers. Some, like Haas, struggle even to reach the budget cap, and in such a scenario, the team has 100 different things to invest in before rookie training.

"They [teams] are so stressed already with the budget cap and all the personnel that travel and around the world for these 24 races that I think it is quite impossible to set up a test team like in the past to really prepare a young driver."

Nowadays, even F1 drivers have only one and a half days of testing their new cars before the first race weekend of the season starts.
The Spanish matador complained about this already at the start of the season. If someone like the most experienced driver in F1 complains about too little time for testing, we can only try to imagine how short that is for a rookie. Alonso added:

"And we don't even have winter testing, even if you put a rookie on your car, he will have one day and a half before starting a world championship. So that probably stops some of the team bosses to really promote a young driver."

"There are many things wrong in the sport and we raise [our] voice sometimes. But hopefully someone [will] listen."