Fernando Alonso partakes in his 19th F1 season this year and is set to surpass a number of longevity records over the 2022 season – including most race starts and the longest F1 career.
Last week marked 21 years since Fernando Alonso made his Formula 1 debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix. The Spaniard embarks on the second year of his comeback stint in 2022 at Alpine and is set to break a number of F1’s longevity records over the course of the season.
ALONSO’S 19TH F1 SEASON
2022 will be Fernando Alonso’s nineteenth season in Formula 1. No driver has raced in Formula 1 for more than nineteen seasons. Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen all retired from the sport at the end of their nineteenth season.
Though Alonso’s contract ends at the conclusion of this season, it’s very possible that he’ll sign an extension before the year is up and go on to become the first man to be present in 20 Formula 1 seasons.
A NEW RECORD FOR MOST STARTS
Kimi Raikkonen currently holds the record for most F1 appearances, with his final appearance at last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix being his 349th race start. Alonso has started 333 races so far in his career and is set to equal Raikkonen’s record at the Italian Grand Prix. Barring any calendar changes, Alonso is currently set to become the first driver to start 350 F1 races at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix (or at whichever race replaces the cancelled Russian Grand Prix).
THE LONGEST F1 CAREER
At the first race of the season, Alonso will set a new record for the most races between a driver’s first and last appearances. Alonso currently shares this record with Kimi Raikkonen, but will become the outright record holder at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix following the Finn’s retirement at the end of the 2021 season. The Bahrain race will mark 393 races since Alonso’s first race start at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.
Alonso will also set a new record for the longest F1 career in terms of time later in the year. The current record belongs to Michael Schumacher, who had an interval of exactly 21 years and 3 months between his first and last appearances at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix and the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. Alonso will break the record on the first race after June 4th, which is currently scheduled to be the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It will mark 21 years, 3 months and 9 days since Alonso’s debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.
WHAT IF ALONSO WINS A RACE IN 2022?
If Fernando Alonso were to win a race in the 2022 season, he would become only the tenth driver to win a World Championship Grand Prix at the age of 40 or older. The last driver to do so was Nigel Mansell, at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix. In the past 52 years, Mansell is the only driver to win in F1 after their 40th birthday.
Alonso would also become the driver with the longest gap between race wins, having taken his most recent victory at the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. He’d also be the fifth driver to have won with four different constructors – which is something that Sebastian Vettel can also achieve this season.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.