The two-time world champion returns this month in Bahrain with Alpine, rebranded from Renault, and it is hoped he will be able to get right in the mix of the midfield battles.
But former Spanish racer Pedro de la Rosa, who competed in 107 Grands Prix, went one step further while discussing the return of the 39-year-old in a Movistar documentary about Alonso.
De la Rosa warned seven-time world champion Hamilton that Alonso can rival the Mercedes driver and even deny him an eighth title to surpass Michael Schumacher’s record of seven, which he equalled in 2020.
“These last few years away from the sport have made him appreciate F1,” De la Rosa said. “His return is going to be very positive for F1 in general, not just for him.
“People used to be completely indifferent to it because there wasn’t a Spaniard who was winning.”
But Coronel disagrees completely and thinks Alonso, who will turn 40 in July, will not have the same speed as before.
The former Ferrari driver would become the oldest F1 world champion since 1966, when Sir Jack Brabham reigned supreme, if he were actually able to shock the sport and claim a third Drivers’ Championship.
Presented a statement by one F1 fan who claimed Alonso could be the grid’s ‘sensation’ in 2021, Ziggo Sport analyst declared to Formule1.nl: “And then you woke up: in your dreams. If he succeeds, I’ll be the first to make a very, very deep bow.
But he will not be in England for the unveiling of Alpine’s A521, though he is still likely to take part in the event.
Alpine explained: “The sanitary situation and corresponding regulations in place do not allow him to do any communications and marketing activities while he undertakes his critical season preparation.
“We will instead publish a Q&A with Fernando for media use and he will be available for media in Bahrain for official pre-season testing.”