F1 changes helped less talented drivers on the grid - Alonso

The raft of changes that Formula One has seen since 2001 have reduced the quality of drivers, says Fernando Alonso.

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso   -  Getty Images

Fernando Alonso says that the changes to Formula One have made it easier for drivers with less talent to break into the sport.

Since his debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix, Alonso has seen the sport make a host of changes to make the grid a fairer playing field.

Engines have been reduced all the way down from V10s to the current V6 turbocharged models, while teams are only allowed to use four power units across the 2018 season.

There have also been a string of aerodynamic alterations, particularly to the front and rear wings, and the nose cones have undergone a revamp over the years.

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Fuel limits, budget caps, weight limits and DRS have created a very different sport to the one Alonso started out in, and he suggests that it has contributed to lower driver quality.

"The rules change went in the wrong direction because now, the teams have very little room to play and to use creativity into strategies or anything like that," Alonso – who will retire from F1 after this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – told ESPN.

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"There is fixed fuel for everyone, a fixed fuel flow to put in the engine that is the same for everyone. The same tyres for everyone, the same weight distribution for everyone. The same tyre pressure, mandatory for everyone, the same camber for everyone. In a way it helped the less talented people."

"They train a lot in the simulator, they arrive to the new circuits knowing exactly where are the bumps, where are the kerbs that you can take, where are the difficult spots and then into the race, normally there is only one optimum way to arrive to the end."

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"It's all about how to save the energy, the tyres, whatever that the engineers tell you to do, you just follow that instruction."

"You have a little bit of room for instinct in different parts of the race, but normally, it's less optimum if you try to do it yourself."

"I think when we didn't have all that information it was more you and the car on a Sunday afternoon and I think it was more about driver input."

After winning back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 with Renault, Alonso has failed to add to his world crowns as moves to Ferrari and McLaren have not worked out as hoped.

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He has no regrets, though, even if he leaves the sport after another season spent battling just to get into the top 10 of the drivers' championship.

"Not really [any regrets]. Obviously, if you know the results in advance you maybe do things differently," he added.

 

"But, I had to go to Ferrari in 2009, I had this opportunity and everyone wants to go to Ferrari. Ferrari wasn't competitive, but I still had good fun — I was still fighting for a lot of championships until the last race."

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"And then, in 2015, the McLaren-Honda combination was attractive and everyone was agreed here in the paddock it could be a success, so I joined that project with a lot of hopes and a lot of commitment and I think we didn't succeed. But, we're still doing a decent job in recovering and never giving up."

"From 2009, when I left Renault, Renault never won a championship from that moment, so it's not that Renault is dominating the sport. When I left Ferrari in 2014, they never won a championship from that moment, so it's not they are dominating the sport. Every step I did, I didn't succeed, but also the team I left didn't succeed."

"I don't understand the people that think I made the wrong choices constantly because with all of my last choices, they're still not winning."