“If Alonso holds out for two or three more years, he can be champion again”

The life of Jo Ramirez (Mexico, 81 years old) has always been linked to motorsports and F1. She has been present in almost every era of the highest automobile category since at the beginning of the 60s she began to accompany her friend Ricardo Rodríguez around half the world circuits until he died in the GP of his country in 1962. . His almost 18 years as a team coordinator at McLaren, working with pilots like Lauda, ​​Senna, Prost, Hakkinen or Coulthard, They endorse him as an authorized voice to give an opinion on the start of the season in Bahrain. He left Britain, his home for decades, for the Brexit and he lives peacefully in Mijas (Málaga) with sporadic getaways to watch a race and always in contact with the friends he still has in the Great Circus.

―What main conclusions did you draw from the start of the season? What surprised her?

“Definitely the progress of Aston Martin. I sensed something because of the enormous investment they have made and the signings they have made, but we know that this does not always go well. In the tests it seemed incredible that they were so fast and there were doubts but they have shown that they have taken a huge step forward. Fernando was great and Stroll is also a great driver. They are a breath of fresh air for Formula 1 and another team to be on top fighting with the big three.

―What did you think of Alonso’s overtaking of Hamilton?

-It was fantastic. We live a formidable duel between two phenomena. Fernando passed him, Lewis returned it and the Spaniard found a way to pass him again in incredible fashion. He loved me. Those maneuvers are what make this sport great.

―Alonso is going to turn 42 but he is in top form and finally has a competitive car, do you see any chance that he can win his third world championship?

-Hopefully. If Aston Martin continues in this line and he lasts two or three more years, he can achieve it. The team is on a proper path. Red Bull, and especially Helmut Marko, criticize them for having copied them, but that’s how F1 has worked for a long time. In addition, Alonso is at a magnificent age. When Alain Prost retired he was 41 years old and in his prime. I was next to him and I could see it. The same thing is happening to Alonso. He is riding better than ever. Experience counts more than age.

“Do you think Aston Martin will win a race this year?”

“It is very possible. The way things look, I think he can do it. There will be a race that does not favor Red Bull so much, that it rains or that there are somewhat special circumstances and there they can take advantage of the opportunity because Fernando’s experience will make the difference. I predict it and I wish it for Alonso, for the friends I have at Aston Martin and for the Spanish fans.

“Verstappen has taken the role of Senna in modern F1”

Jo Ramirez.

―Red Bull is unbeatable right now?

-Completely. If they do not suffer technical setbacks or an accident, yes. They are in another galaxy and now a circuit arrives (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) in which they will fly. His supremacy is going to leave us speechless. They are very fast in the fast corners and they are going to be much better than the rest. In addition, the fight between Max and Checo will benefit them even more to continue improving.

“What makes them so superior?”

―Basically the aerodynamics but it is also a team that does not fail and borders on perfection in almost all areas. The ‘pit stops’ are wonderful. Aston Martin is going to have a hard time getting to that level.

―Who would say that it is now the second team on the grid by potential?

―It should be Ferrari because they are fast and with a good engine but they always have some reliability or strategy error. Something always happens to them but if they solve it they will be behind Red Bull. We must not forget Mercedes either, even though they are not well now. It is a team with such a powerful structure and such quality in its drivers that in four or five races we will see them higher up for sure.

“Your dear McLaren is not going well…

-It is a pity. They are very slow in development. Even in my day, when we were working on next year’s new car, we were always late. Ron Dennis wanted to check everything, down to the smallest detail, and many times the championship started and we were caught with our pants down because we were not prepared.

―If someone wants to bet 100 euros on a world champion this year, is Verstappen a safe investment?

-The safest. The guy is very good. He has taken the role of Ayrton Senna in modern F1 and with that car, that team and Adrian Newey he is almost unstoppable. Checo is very good too but he lacks the killer instinct that Max has.

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