Prost believes Alonso now 'back' to his best in F1


Renault special advisor Alain Prost says Fernando Alonso has settled in at Alpine and is performing at his best after a two-year hiatus from Formula 1.

Ahead of his return to the fray, Alonso warned that he would need some time to get up to speed and considered the French Grand Prix as the true starting point of his 2021 comeback season.

The Spaniard, who qualified P9 at Paul Ricard last weekend, put in a spirited drive that saw him finish 8th but with a group of midfield cars separated by just four seconds at the checkered flag.

Prost says he identified with Alonso's comeback efforts, having taken a sabbatical from the sport in 1992 before returning the following year and winning the championship with Williams.

"I always remember when I stopped for what was really only six months in fact in '92, how difficult it was to come back," explained Prost, quoted by

"But we were testing every week, we were testing all time. So it was obvious that Fernando could not be at the top at the beginning.

"It's a new car, new team, and also not driving F1 for two years. He had the target of the French GP more or less, saying ‘Okay, well, I need four or five races.’ It's nothing special, it's a normal way. Now he's back, for sure."

Alonso's run in the points at Paul Ricard contrasted with Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon's unusual under-performance in his home race which he finished a lowly P14.

Prost said that Alpine was working to understand the reasons behind Ocon's struggles which were rooted, among other things, in tyre wear.

"Fernando did a good race, a good result," he said. "We could have done just a little bit better, because he was catching up, but it was difficult to overtake. We did not have a good pit stop. So we need to improve everything."

"Esteban had more problems with the tyres. It was not a good result, not a good race for him, but it looks like some cars in different teams also had similar problems.

"It is really, really difficult to understand everything and to solve it, because sometimes it starts as a small problem, then it becoming bigger. We don't know.

"But it is really not what we expected in terms of tyres. It's the same for Ferrari, it's depending on cars, depending on drivers."

Alpine is currently the fifth best midfield team in F1, a ranking that Prost justified in part by F1's decision to delay from 2021 to 2022 the introduction of its new regulations.

"We had to postpone everything by one year," said the four-time world champion. "So for us, it's difficult, we have an extra pressure because we did not improve the car and the engine because we’re waiting for next year.

"So it's not a surprise that we are not completely at the top. Everything is getting all together, but it's still a long way to go, for sure."

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