Formula 1: Fernando Alonso facing elimination in Japan

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Formula 1 (Photo by Edmund So/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Formula 1 (Photo by Edmund So/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Fernando Alonso can be mathematically eliminated from 2023 Formula 1 world championship contention in this Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso is one of three drivers (aside from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen) who are still mathematically eligible to win the 2023 Formula 1 world championship.

The two-time world champion trails the two-time reigning world champion by 204 points heading into the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, and there are 206 points on the table throughout the final seven races of the 22-race season.

Of these 206 points, 182 are available in the Grands Prix themselves, as wins pay 25 points each and one additional point is awarded to the driver who runs the fastest lap, provided he is a top 10 finisher.

The other 24 are available in the three remaining sprint races. Eight points will be paid to each of the sprint race winners ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, the United States Grand Prix, and the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

With Verstappen having already secured the tiebreaker over Alonso — and everybody else, for that matter — thanks to his win total (12 wins in 15 races), this means that the only way Alonso can remain in championship contention following the Japanese Grand Prix is if he remains within 179 points of the 25-year-old Dutchman.

This means that he must close the gap by 25 points, which can only be done by winning without Verstappen scoring (11th place or lower)

Through 15 races in the 2023 Formula 1 season, Fernando Alonso has never outscored Max Verstappen, and Verstappen has just one finish (fifth place) outside of the top two.

The other two drivers still in title contention are Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton is also facing elimination in Suzuka, while Perez is guaranteed to have at least a shot heading into the Qatar Grand Prix at Lusail International Circuit in just over two weeks.

FanDuel Sportsbook, which is now running a promotion that awards fans with an instant and guaranteed $200, lists Verstappen as the favorite to win the Japanese Grand Prix for the second year in a row.

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The Japanese Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on ESPN2 from Suzuka Circuit starting at 12:55 a.m. ET this Sunday, September 24. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!