Alonso backed to beat more records as Spaniard gets set to topple Raikkonen mark in Singapore

Fernando Alonso will make a record 351st start when he competes in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix – and his first Formula One boss believes there are many more to come.

Gian Carlo Minardi was managing director of the Minardi team when a young Alonso made his F1 debut in 2001, on the road to becoming a double world champion.

Those titles came in 2005 and 2006 at Renault, whom Alonso joined after only one year with Minardi, and he has missed only two seasons since, sitting out 2019 and 2020 when scratching an itch to compete in other motorsport events.

This weekend he will beat a record previously held by Kimi Raikkonen, who contested 350 grands prix, with Alonso competing for Alpine ahead of an end-of-season switch to Aston Martin.

Minardi told Stats Perform he is confident the 41-year-old Alonso will remain a strong presence on the grid for years to come.

"I recently met him in Monza, and he was very excited," Minardi said. "I would say he doesn't look 41 from an athletic point of view, so I guess he is very fit and keen to prove who he is, and with his new contract he will beat other records not easily reachable for other drivers."

Alonso can also beat the record of the most F1 races finished this weekend, another mark he shares with Raikkonen on 278.

Minardi recalled first getting to know Alonso in 1999, with F1 tests for the youngster soon following in Jerez, where his performance levels were "jaw-dropping".

According to Minardi, Alonso had the ability to win "more than five world titles" and ranks as "one of the drivers who made the difference in the last two generations".

Ahead of another move, as the drive with Aston Martin awaits, Minardi said: "Let's hope that this change – because one of Fernando's weaknesses is that he has always been unlucky when changing the team – is beneficial to him and Aston Martin can equip him with what Aston Martin had at their debut.

"Today, without a reason and despite their Mercedes engine, they struggle to get the results they did some years ago.

"So I wish him the best to watch him entertain us. That is what I told him... I still have fun watching you drive, so keep it up."