Fernando Alonso has revealed that he only watched F1 on TV last year on the off chance that the "charismatic" Max Verstappen would spice things up in a race.
Alonso exited F1 at the end of 2018 after a final season with McLaren. In the following 24 months, the Spaniard indulged in a limited program that included competing in the Indy 500, a win at Le Mans in 2019 with Toyota and a participation in the 2020 Dakar with the Japanese manufacturer.
Alonso admitted that he took little interest in F1 during his time off, only tuning in with the hope of watching the intrepid Verstappen challenge Lewis Hamilton and bring a race alive.
"Last year, when I wasn’t racing, when I put the TV on, I put it on a little bit to see what Max was doing in that race because he was the only one who was going to do something," Alonso told Soymotor.com.
"You knew Bottas wasn’t going to upset Hamilton and you knew Hamilton would win if nothing weird happened.
"But…‘oh, Verstappen’. Whether he starts on the front row, whether the car is going well…the charisma factor or whatever I think is important as well."
Unfortunately, Alpine's performance level hasn't yet allowed Alonso to go wheel-to-wheel with the Red Bull driver.
Alonso admitted that Verstappen's orange army of supporters that follows him on European tracks reminds him of the days when the grandstands were painted blue with Alonso fans.
"I look at it with admiration and I enjoy the moment, to see all those people excited, in this case for Verstappen, but with the good fortune of also having experienced it firsthand, and there was that blue tide for so many years for us – for Renault and me," said the F1 veteran.
"I don’t look at it with envy, I look at it with admiration for them and also knowing we were lucky enough to have a whole circuit [supporting us]."