Alonso says 19 F1 drivers already know they won’t win the 2024 F1 title: “This is a brutal sport”

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Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso admitted to being surprised about the new design of the Red Bull RB20, and said most of the drivers in the paddock already know they don’t have a shot at the championship title this season.

The Lawrence Stroll-owned team kicked off pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit on a good note, with Alonso saying that “everything feels positive and we’ve done a good job so far.

“It’s hard to know exactly where we are compared to our competitors because we all have different programmes, but we have completed what we intended to do in these first two days and that is positive,” he stated after the first two days of testing.

However, drivers are making sure to keep their expectations in check and the two-time World Champion is no exception, as he sees Verstappen and Red Bull taking both championships once again on the basis of what happened in Bahrain.

“I think Max [Verstappen] is the world champion and Red Bull is dominating the sport,” he said. “Also, the concept that they presented this year is also a surprise.

“At the moment, we just have to watch them and see how they perform.

“I think 19 drivers in the paddock now will think that [they] will not win the championship. It happens 99% of the time in your career. This is a brutal sport.”

Echoed by many

Alonso’s thoughts on the Red Bulls are the general feeling around the paddock.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, for example, said he was happy with the team’s progress over winter and how the new SF-24 is behaving much better than what the previous iteration did the same time last year.

However, he said that his “initial feeling is that Red Bull unfortunately remains quite ahead,” acknowledging they did “impressive lap times” during the first day of pre-season.

He asked for caution, saying that it’s “too early” to talk about the pecking order anyway.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella also found frustration in Red Bull’s advantages. “There’s one car that seems to have found a big step – unfortunately, the car that was already the quickest last year,” he said.

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton also hopes to close the gap between Mercedes and the Milton Keynes-based squad, although he praised his team for the advancements made with their new car.