Lando Norris reveals the advice Lewis Hamilton gave him
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Fernando Alonso has dismissed the idea that the technical rule changes set to come into force in F1 next season will benefit older drivers over the newer stars of the sport. The theory is based on the return of designs to promote ‘ground effect’, which had been used to give more downforce to older F1 cars but have, in recent years, been banned for safety reasons.
It is one of a number of changes to the 2022 cars, with underfloor tunnels allowed on cars to “allow teams to generate large amounts of efficient downforce”.
F1 say the sport is implementing this change as “when vortices stop working – due, for example, to the influence of closely following another car – the performance drop-off is huge” for the current design of the cars.
Every driver on the grid will have to get used to the change, though some of the more experienced racers may be more used to utilising ground effect than their younger colleagues.
But Alonso, who will be the most experienced racer on the grid next season following the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen, doesn’t believe he and his fellow F1 old-timers will benefit more than anyone else from the new car designs.
“I don’t think it will make a difference,” the Spaniard said bluntly.
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“To be honest, I think it will be much more down to the performance of our cars, the work in the simulator and the work during the winter tests.”
He did say, though, that the overhaul in the design of the 2022 cars means that there is a lot more work ahead than usual for the drivers when preparing for the new campaign.
“So in terms of adjustment, I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference,” Alonso added.
“It’s just hard work, or harder work than any other winter, because we will have to spend some more time in the simulator and together with the team.”
It means, in the Spaniard’s opinion, Lewis Hamilton will gain no advantage over his less experienced championship rival Max Verstappen next season.
The pair have been embroiled in a heated battle for the 2021 title, with only two points separating them after 15 dramatic races so far.
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Whatever the result this season, Hamilton and Verstappen look set to continue that rivalry for years to come, with the Mercedes man tied down to at least two more years with the Silver Arrows and the Red Bull star, who only turned 24 at the end of last month, set to be a fixture in the sport for a long time.
Meanwhile, Alonso is 10th in the standings with 58 points, one place above his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon having enjoyed a steady season so far with the French constructor.
With 103 points between them, they will hope to fend off the challenge of AlphaTauri who are 19 points behind in the constructors’ championship with seven races to go.
Alpine will also harbour hope that they can take advantage of the technical rule changes to reel in the teams above them next year.
Ferrari and McLaren are the ones in their sights, though both are more than 100 points clear while Red Bull and Mercedes are even further ahead at the top of the standings.
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