Fernando Alonso is experiencing a resurgence in popularity both on and off the track as discussed on the F1 Nation Podcast by Natalie Pinkham. Beyond his exceptional driving skills, Alonso’s engaging persona and strategic social media presence have captivated fans, old and new. With his recent association with global pop star Taylor Swift, Alonso has managed to attract a younger generation of fans, expanding his reach and solidifying his position as a fan-favorite in the world of motorsport.
Understanding how journalists can help shape his image in a positive light
Unlike in his earlier years, Alonso now recognizes the value of the media and the role it plays in connecting him directly with his fans. Having spent two years away from the sport, he has developed a newfound appreciation for the importance of engaging with journalists and utilizing their platform to communicate with his fanbase.
“He is on the podium, but people are intrigued by Fernando Alonso,” said Pinkham. I think it’s the best he’s ever driven. I know that’s a bold statement, but I also think it’s the best he’s ever been.
“I find him utterly charming and engaging in the pen [where the drivers make their interviews with all the TV broadcasters]. He’s making time for people. He understands from his two years out how tough it is to be the middle person as well, I.e. us. So he makes more tim for us. He understands we offer him a platform to talk directly to his fans. He used to hate all the media stuff. He now respects, appreciates it, understands we’re a necessary evil in the whole scheme of things. And I feel like he’s just more relaxed. And as a result, he’s just great value.”
One notable event that has propelled Alonso’s popularity to new heights was his association with global pop icon Taylor Swift. The unexpected connection between the two figures generated significant buzz, especially among younger fans. The interaction sparked curiosity and led to an influx of new followers eager to discover more about Alonso’s achievements and personality.
Regarding Alonso’s association with Taylor Swift, Pinkham expressed, “I think he’s more popular than ever. I think he’s so canny at the moment as well. That whole Taylor Swift thing. I mean that talk about pulling in a younger generation of fans. He suddenly exploded in popularity as well….
The point is any kind of association with Taylor Swift is enough to peak the interest of a younger generation of fans. And it did exactly that and he gave a wry smile and he was incredibly charming and battered it off beautifully. But then he was trending everywhere with Taylor. And the memes were bursting out of our ears.
My six-year-old and my eight-year-old vaguely know who Fernando Alonso is because he’s some bloke who mummy interviews at the track. The minute they heard he was associated with Taylor Swift, they asked me who he was in the race in Miami. His growth on social media online. His presence has been exponential.”
A dream association with Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing
As Red Bull Racing continues their dominant streak with five consecutive victories in the 2023 season, the possibility of an unexpected partnership between Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso in the austrian team is starting to surface.
“I’d love to put him in a Red Bull,” asserted Pinkham. “I would love to see how he’d get on in a Red Bull right now.”
The statement echoed Sky Sports F1’s presenter Simon Lazenby, who asked former world champion Jenson Button how Alonso would fare against Verstappen in the RB19.
“There’s a good possibility there,” responded the 2009 champion, teammate of the Spaniard for two seasons in 2015 and 2016.
“I think with him finishing third in an Aston Martin. Yes if you put him in a Red Bull, he’s fighting at the front. He is fighting for another world championship, yeah. But he’s not in a Red Bull, so…”
It remains to be seen how the narrative will evolve as the season progresses, but Fernando Alonso is slowly becoming the driver the media promotes to challenge Verstappen’s current domination of the sport.