2022 F1 Champion: Fernando Alonso
Call me nostalgic but it is going to happen.
When Vettel moved to Aston Martin I told my roommate he could win another championship when the new regulations are put in place. As much as I love Vettel, with all my heart I really do the reality is he is a shell of his former self. We all pain to acknowledge it but its the truth. Fernando Alonso however is getting better and better every week pushing himself and the Alpine team higher.
The new rules next year are going to shake up the grid unlike anything we have ever seen before. With the field being much closer together there will be a higher premium on driver skill and Alonso is still one of the best on the grid. He may be a step behind where he used to be but that still makes him 2 steps infant of most. His qualifying this week was poor but there had to be something wrong with the car. He was 8 tenths faster in FP3 showing he had a lot left in the tank. He has been away from F1 for a few years but lets not forget that in his time off he won Le Mans twice proving he can still keep pace with the best in the world. Before he left performances like he had in the 2018 Azerbaijian GP shows that he was still one of the most skillful drivers on the grid and hadn't fallen off like Vettel has.
The biggest variable in all of this is the car. If Alpine nails the regulations and gives him a fighting chance week in week out there is no reason that he shouldn't be in contention for the title. Now this is a big if. I think in the first year of these new regulations some teams will be huge disappointments and that could absolutely be Alpine, what will go in their favor is that Mclaren and Ferrari look better than them this year; with the sliding scale of aero development being worse this year will set them up to potentially have a better car than their rivals next year.
He is going to be 40 by the time this would happen which would make him one of the oldest Driver's Champions since the 60s but Nigel Mansell won it at 39 and Alain Prost at 38 so wouldn't be too outlandish. Hamilton would be 36 if he were to win this year so this isn't just a young man sport.
Alonso is a Pantheon great driver with some poor career choices that kept him from more titles but I'm convinced there could be more coming his way.
I'm sure no one agrees but I hope to be like Ryan Gosling's character at the end of The Big Short.