Berger: Alonso would be winning in a Ferrari or Red Bull

Berger: Alonso would be winning in a Ferrari or Red Bull fernando-alonso-alpine-f1-team-1

Gerhard Berger echoed the sentiments of many Formula 1 fans and pundits when he said he was “100 percent certain” that Fernando Alonso driving a Red Bull or Ferrari would be winning races this season.

The soon-to-be 41-year-old Alonso has been the toast of just about every Grand Prix weekend, hustling the Alpine into places it has no place being, namely the front row of the grid for the Canadian Grand Prix after a stellar performance during tricky qualifying in Montreal.

However, the Alpine is hardly on Red Bull or Ferrari level, which means Alonso’s mighty efforts on Saturdays have to be matched with mightier efforts on Sundays as he goes-toe-to-toe with faster cars qualifying behind him.

Nevertheless, each time he dons his race suit and helmet, the veteran of 343 F1 starts, impresses or tends to steal the show with his gutsy antics, prompting Motorsport Magazin to ask F1 veteran, and now DTM chief, Berger for his thoughts on the Spaniard: “I love it!

“I have to say for me, with his talent, Alonso could have won five F1 world championship titles. He’s a brilliant driver. After McLaren he closed the doors a bit because if he were in a Mercedes he would have five world titles,” insisted Berger.

Asked if Alonso would be winning races in a Red Bull or a Ferrari, Berger was adamant: “Yes! I’m 100 percent sure of that.”

Verstappen: Alonso is getting a little bit old but he’s still very fast

Verstappen: Great to be sharing front row with Alonso

While Alonso is a crowd and F1 paddock favourite, some would say he is a far cry from the Fernando of 2005-2006 when he all but ended Michael Schumacher’s career at Ferrari, and their phenomenal winning streak, to win two back-to-back titles for Renault.

However, it’s not only the oldtimers who are impressed with the Alpine driver, even Max Verstappen chipped in with praise after finding out Alonso had qualified second to him in Montreal.

“To be on the front row together with Fernando I used to look at F1 as a little kid,” said the Dutchman. “Seeing Fernando being up there and winning his races and championships and putting it on pole so to be sharing the front row is a nice thing. Of course, he’s getting a little bit old, but he’s still very fast.”

Also singing Alonso’s praises was 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve who said on F1 Nation podcast:
“It took him a little while to get up to speed in the Alpine and to get the team to work with him, to work in his direction, to develop the car in his direction.

“Be’s been unlucky this year either in strategies, pitstops, cars failing down. So it seems that he’s carrying some kind of weight with him and every time I talk to him, he says: it just never goes right.

“He’s relentless like Max and never gives up anything. He is passionate and he’s a fighter who never gives anything up. He’s always hungry for more. It’s amazing,” enthused Villeneuve.

Villeneuve: Age affects you when you’re not willing to take the risk anymore

alonso gasly miami f1

As for Alonso’s longevity, Villeneuve knows a thing or two about extending his career in F1 and thereafter, he still races whenever and wherever he can at highish levels, but he admits that inevitably age catches up with drivers, in different ways.

The 51 Canadian explained: “Age affects you when you’re not willing to take the risk anymore, you’re not willing to make the sacrifices anymore where you’d rather be at home than taking the risk on the track. And that’s when you start slowing down, that’s when your mind is not on it anymore.

“Physically, in modern days, we eat better, we train, so you don’t get old as quickly and it depends on how much you’ve hurt yourself in your racing career as well. But the hunger is still there, so you might lose a tenth or two but that gets overly compensated by experience.

“And as you can see now, he’s a very experienced driver, he’s not the youngest on the grid but look what he’s doing against Ocon now. He’s there when it’s needed,” added Villeneuve, who also won the Indy 500 and Indycar Championship during his illustrious motorsport career.