Alonso’s astonishing 23-season F1 journey: Marc Marquez hits back

Marc Marquez, a prominent figure in MotoGP and a six-time world champion, has defended Fernando Alonso’s decision to continue his career in Formula 1, countering suggestions that it was time for Alonso to retire.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, aged 26, praised Alonso, stating he “deserves his place” in Formula 1, but acknowledged that “there are so many young people who deserve a place” as well. “It’s not easy to find the balance,” Leclerc admitted.

As Fernando Alonso nears his 43rd birthday, the debate intensifies over whether he should have vacated his spot in favour of younger talents, especially after signing a new deal with Aston Martin that extends his F1 tenure to a remarkable 23 seasons at least.

However, Marquez, sharing his nationality with Alonso, strongly supports the two-time F1 champion’s right to continue racing. “I already said in an interview that Fernando is experiencing a second youth,” he disclosed to the Spanish sports daily, AS.

“Having seen him when I was a child when he was at Renault and winning his titles, this second youth is very valuable for the media and for Spain,” Marquez explained. He further admired the broader impact of Alonso’s career: “I think motorsport is highly valued in Spain, as well as non-motorsport – sport in general. For me, it is almost more impressive for him to have stopped and then come back like this,” Marquez added, reflecting on Alonso’s brief exit from F1 after a challenging period with McLaren that was marked by poor performance due to Honda engine issues.

Alonso’s return to F1 in 2021 with Alpine, and subsequently Aston Martin, showcased him once again in peak form. Marquez lauded Alonso’s initial career phase: “The first career he had was clearly very impressive.”

“But as an athlete, stopping like that, going into other disciplines and then returning to F1, being competitive, having the teams still love you because they need the experience that you have – that’s what I value the most,” Marquez concluded, highlighting the extraordinary nature of Alonso’s ongoing career and its significance.

GMM

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