We carry on with our series of photo reports from Barcelona Formula 1 winter testing, courtesy of Diego Merino and Clarksport.
Notable absence from the paddock during test 1 was none other than the Daytona 24 / Rolex 24 winner (he got only one watch, not 24!) Fernando Alonso. The Flying (between Europe and US) Spaniard is taking a sabbatical from F1 in 2019 and is probably hoping to “do a Lauda” (or Kimi?) and return to the sport one day after getting inspired by a mighty first-lap crash in Canada or Monaco, both are ideal tracks for massive pile-ups à la Spa ’98, with wheels flying and all. Spectacular stuff! Nobody would get hurt because of the HALO, for sure. This is 2019, not 1959.
Fernando is expected to test for Ron-less McLaren at some point this year. The double world champion is getting a bit rusty vacationing in the Maldives, caramba, just like my Spanish!
It’s entirely possible to make a competitive comeback to the F1 Circus and win the ultimate (Golden Clown) prize, the championship and that HUGE FIA trophy awarded in Russia, but it won’t come easy as Lauda discovered with Prost in ’84 or Prost himself discovered in ’93. Although back then extensive collections of silverware weren’t awared in Russia.
Sometimes I pity F1 kids on Twitter (or “tweeps”, as they wish to be called): they never got to witness the full power of Alonso mania at its peak in 2003-2007, the bandana years! The hair! Old mobile phones! Sainz Jr still in elementary school (kindergarten?). They had to specifically hunt down paddock intruders who were anxious to catch a glimpse of their hero. Entire schools would take trips to Jerez and children would cry once Fern would whizz past in his blue and yellow V10-powered Renault, while Flav (rocking his trademark sweaty armpits look) would be photographed by the likes of Darren Heath on the pit wall. Those were the days!
And who can forget the ultimate Alonso urban legend – the snub of the fan club down under! Poor blokes travelled all the way from Spain to Melbourne… only to be ignored by Fernando. I’m sure they took to forums (remember these obscure places online before social media was invented?) to vent theit anger. Maybe MySpace? Hmm…
I’ll leave you with photos tho.
PS All images are for sale.