The meaning of ‘El Plan’ revealed after the phrase was spotted on the back of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine car over the Abu Dhabi GP weekend.
Ahead of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, Fernando Alonso and the Alpine team decided to have a little fun with their car.
On Friday, 10 December, Alonso’s car was spotted ahead of the first practice session with the phrase ‘El Plan’ on the back. A photo of the car started doing the rounds on social media, which many people reacted to with a laughing emoji.
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Alonso has already given cryptic details
Alonso has made reference to El Plan for some time now, and has even got the phrase plastered across T-shirts and hats. El Plan appears to have entered the collective F1 consciousness during the Turkish GP this year.
During one of his post-race interviews, the Spaniard was asked about qualifying in P5. Alonso spoke to the interviewer who asked what the plan was. The driver simply replied: “You need to wait for months to know it.”
He added: “Yes, you need to believe in El Plan for now,” before casually strolling away.
Furthermore, a Spanish flag in the stands of the Turkish circuit read: “We trust ‘THE PLAN.’” The image was shared by the team and driver, prompting even more curiosity.
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So what does El Plan really mean?
Alpine have had a strong season by all accounts, with the highlight undoubtedly coming with Esteban Ocon’s maiden Formula One victory at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. The team sits fifth in the 2021 Constructor Standings heading into the final race of the season, 29 points ahead of AlphaTauri in sixth.
However, it’s clear Alpine, and Alonso, have one eye on the 2022 season, which is where the meaning of El Plan becomes a little more clear.
In short, El Plan means all the preparation and work Fernando Alonso and Alpine are doing to create a winning car ahead of the regulatory changes in 2022.
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Before returning to Renault, now Alpine, Alonso had won the 24 Hours Of Le Mans twice, but had an itch to get back into F1. But the Spaniard knew creating a car to rival Mercedes and Red Bull would take time. However, the opportunities the reg changes in 2022 will provide will allow Alonso and Alpine to implement a plan to be in a strong position next year.
By putting ‘El Plan’ in place now, the team are essentially hoping they can shake the grid up in 2022, much like Brawn did in 2009, so Alonso could become a three-time world champion.
That’s perhaps why Alonso said “you need to wait for months to know it” in his interview, as he knows he will have to be patient and bide his time. If anyone can make strict regulations work, though, it’s Alonso, and 2022 represents a real chance for Alpine to move away from the midfield and towards the front of the grid.
Only time will tell if El Plan pays off…