In recent months Fernando Alonso has made it quite clear why he is turning his back on Formula 1, now on the eve of his final race in the top flight the Spaniard has looked back on an illustrious career in the top flight with pride and declared mission accomplished as he seeks alternative challenges in racing.
Alonso has questioned the manner in which F1 has evolved over the years is a weak show and no longer what he signed up for when he made his debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix with Minardi.
In this turbo hybrid era, many drivers often complain that much of their race days are spent managing tyre wear, fuel consumption, engine maps etc. Flat-out driving only happens on Saturday in qualifying and on occasions in free practice.
Of racing in this modern era Alonso told Francisco Chuvieco of Diario AS, “There is very little room for instinct I thin when we had less information available, it was more something between the driver and the car on a Sunday afternoon. Not anymore.”
Although the 37-year-old has not written off a return to the top flight in the future, he is realistic about such an option, “By 2021 it will be a bit too late, I do not know for sure, because it is difficult to know how you will feel in two weeks, let alone two years from now.”
“To have the energy to start over again and dedicate yourself completely to something when you’re 39 or 40… it’s going to be more difficult than now, it’s not something I am planning.”
Fernando: It’s not because I am not winning here, I could sign for a competitive team next year
Sergio Perez is on record saying that Formula 1 was “sick” when a driver of Alonso’s quality cannot get a competitive drive and is forced to leave while still being a top-level driver, among the top three on the grid many believe.
But Alonso is adamant he is making the right call, and told ESPN, “I think this is a mistake a lot of people are taking from this decision. I explained it very clearly in my statement: I am stopping Formula 1 because there are other bigger challenges outside Formula 1 than the ones I can see here.”
“It’s not because I am not winning here, I could sign for a competitive team next year, maybe not the top two, but maybe the third one. But I say no because I arrived in F1 17 years ago and I have won two world championships.”
“I have won more races than what I dreamed of when I came here and this part of my career is done – it was a success. I have ticked the box. I need to go for another tick and find another box to fill. That’s the only reason.”
“If I had only done five or six seasons in F1 and I still had a lot energy, I would stay despite the results — better or worse — but after 17 years and after achieving everything here, I think it’s the right moment,” concluded Alonso.
Big Question: Is F1 sick because a driver like Fernando cannot find a competitive car?