How Fernando Alonso, F1’s Oldest Driver, is Keeping Up with Younger Peers, Newfangled Technology

It’s difficult for some individuals born before the 1990s to keep up with society’s technological advancements. Imagine what it’s like to be Fernando Alonso, Formula 1’s oldest driver.

When he opened his career, smartphones were still seven years away from being introduced. He probably received news of his 2001 promotion while taking a call on a flip phone – or gasp – a landline.

With F1 venturing into a new world of machines and regulations, Alonso is attempting to keep up with the younger, tech-savvy Millennials.

At 40 years old, Fernando Alonso putting in extra time this offseason to stay competitive

Alonso returned to F1 after a two-year hiatus exploring various disciplines of international racing; it’s a different world. The younger drivers are a new breed.

Alonso could be referred to as “Gramps” to many of his peers.

A two-time F1 drivers’ titleholder, Alonso is putting in extra time this offseason to prepare for the industry’s new rules and technology set to debut in 2022.

Alonso didn’t sound worried at the end of last season. He is, after all, a Gen Yer himself. Sure, he was in the inaugural birth class (1981), but he’s still a card-carrying Millennial.

“So in terms of adaptation, I don’t think it will be a big difference – it’s just some hard work, or harder than any other winter because we will have to spend a little bit more time in the simulator and together with the team,” he told formula1.com.

Alonso on keeping up with younger peers: ‘You have to train more’

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso looks for an opening to drive out of the garage area during Formula 1 testing at Yas Marina Circuit on Dec. 15, 2021, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates | Francois Nel – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Since 2001, Alonso has experienced much change within F1. He’s about to experience more with the industry introducing a new car and establishing new regulations for the competitive Spaniard to comprehend. Accepting he would have extra work to do in the simulator and attend additional winter tests, Alonso didn’t sound concerned.

“I don’t think that it is going to be any different, honestly,” he said. “… Eventually, after three or four races, you are on top of the car, on top of the regulations, and after that, it’s just the performance of the car that will dictate the results you will get.”

True, but other things have changed at 40 years old, like his workout regimen.

“You have to train more,” he said. “You have to stretch more, you have to have a different food routine, do many other things to be in the same shape, with the same strength, so I am ready to do so.”

Alonso: ‘I will have to do more than other drivers because, yes, I am older than them’

First, though, he will need time in January to recover from a surgery attributed to a cycling accident last year. When able, Alonso’s offseason schedule likely will remain full as he trains his mind and body for all the different things he will face in 2022, 21 years after his rookie campaign.

Last season, Alonso, who has 32 career GP wins, placed 10th in the drivers’ standings. He earned his first podium (P3) in 105 events at the Qatar GP. With all the extra work he’s putting in this offseason, he doesn’t expect to wait long for his next top-three finish.

“There are more satisfying things to do, but that’s the plan for this winter,” he said. “I want to be as strong as I can, and I know that I will have to train, and I will have to do more than other drivers because, yes, I am older than them.”

Older and wiser?

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