No ‘miracle’ changes in 2024 F1 pecking order now – Alonso

Thu, 7 March 2024, 09:00

Mar.7 (GMM) Even just a single race into the 2024 season, respected Formula 1 journalist Michael Schmidt thinks the pecking order is already essentially clear.

When asked to divulge his ideas about the hierarchy of performance after the season opener in Bahrain, Fernando Alonso agrees that not much will be different this weekend in Jeddah.

“We have said all winter that Red Bull and Ferrari were a little better than the rest,” said the Aston Martin driver.

“In Bahrain it was like that and it seemed like a surprise to many people. That’s what surprised me – that the result in Bahrain could surprise anyone.”

Writing for Auto Motor und Sport, Schmidt agrees that Aston Martin is the fifth force yet again – behind McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari, and of course Red Bull.

“The way Mercedes and Ferrari reacted to Red Bull’s result in Bahrain was like licking wounds and making excuses,” Christian Danner, a former F1 driver, told Servus TV. “McLaren is also keeping a low profile.

“They definitely didn’t think that Max Verstappen’s dominance would remain so blatant.”

Indeed, Schmidt thinks Red Bull and Verstappen “are even more dominant” than in 2023, with Ferrari the second force. “Nobody knows how fast Mercedes really is,” he wrote in the German magazine.

As for F1’s bottom-five teams this year, Schmidt thinks RB leads the vastly improved Haas team, which is “the surprise” of the start of the season.

Williams, Sauber and Alpine then bring up the rear.

“If you take the quality of the drivers into account, Alpine is last by a considerable margin,” Schmidt said. “Hard to believe, but true.”

The personnel chaos is continuing to deepen at the Renault-linked team, with Bob Bell leaving Enstone after several decades to join Alonso at Aston Martin.

“It came as a surprise,” Pierre Gasly said of the chaos and the performance crisis, “but then at the same time I trust my team and I trust the people in charge of the management.”

According to Alonso, however, not much will change in the pecking order between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, despite the protestations or hopes of many teams.

“The problem is that the cars will not really have any changes,” he said. “The cars will be identical.

“I know there is always this desire to talk about elements that could help stop Red Bull’s domination, but it’s not as simple as that. I hope I’m wrong and I can talk about a good result from Aston Martin, but it will be difficult,” said the 42-year-old.

“I’m not expecting a miracle. “I think we’ll be the fifth force again.”

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