Formula 1: Fernando Alonso still targeting third title
Fernando Alonso says he remains determined to win his third Formula One title despite the retirement of title rival Nico Rosberg at the end of the season.
Fernando Alonso’s future as a Formula 1 driver remains uncertain after his contract with McLaren ended following the 2017 season, with the Spaniard stating that he would not be returning to the British team. He has thus far remained in retirement, but this week the 36-year-old signed a three-year contract with Toyota, starting in 2019. The deal means that Alonso will remain in Formula 1, but he has set his sights on claiming his third title before the end of his career.
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Fernando Alonso says he still wants to win a third Formula One World Championship, but acknowledges that it may not be feasible.
The 40-year-old, who returned to Formula One this season, said that he believes he can stay in the sport for many more years.
“I have the same passion and racing goals on the inside,” Alonso added, “and winning the third title is the only thing that drives me.”
“However, as time passes, you realize that not everything is within your control, and that there are certain things you will never be able to overcome.”
“If you don’t make it, at least you tried and came close to winning the third championship.”
In an exclusive Sport interview, Alonso addressed a variety of elements of his return, including:
- His “love-hate” connection with the sport is well-documented.
- Why is his legacy and reputation so important to him?
- His connection with the younger generation of drivers is fruitful.
- How long does he intend to keep going?
- How close he thinks he is to his peak performance
Alonso, a two-time world champion with Renault and winner of 32 Grands Prix, retired from Formula One at the conclusion of 2018 to pursue other racing goals.
However, the Alpine team – previously known as Renault – enticed him back this season, claiming that the new regulations for next season, which are geared at bringing the field closer together, will provide a chance for both to return to competitiveness.
Alonso will be 41 in the middle of next year, but he plans to keep playing for a long time.
The Spaniard replies, “I’ll see year by year.” “First and foremost, I must enjoy remaining in Formula One and believe I am quick enough.” If I ever feel uncompetitive, don’t feel the car, or don’t like the race, I’ll be the first to raise my hand and offer a chance to someone else.
“But I’m hoping that doesn’t happen so I can stay racing for another two, three, or four years.”
“I don’t believe that age is an issue. You move faster in the bends if you have more downforce, and you travel faster on the straights if you have more power. It’s not like this changes much as you get older, whether you’re 20 or 40.”
After his victory in Hungary, Alonso was the first to congratulate his teammate Ocon.
‘A sense of humour is required.’
For his accomplishments over the previous 20 years, Alonso has become a racing legend, and his comeback has been warmly received by a new generation of drivers, some of whom had never raced against him before.
They are ecstatic to be able to express their adoration for him and to compete against him on the track.
Mercedes has a new signing. After swapping helmets, George Russell recently hailed Alonso “one of the best racing drivers ever.”
Alonso also donated McLaren driver Lando Norris’ helmet to his museum in Oviedo, and penned a letter to Norris in which he described the Briton as “a rock star.”
And when McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo celebrated 200 races in Formula One last month, one of the highlights of his career was a fight with Alonso in the 2014 German Grand Prix.
Is Alonso aware of his position as a kind of living legend or elder statesman?
He chuckles. He replies, “I’ve never considered it.” “I’m not sure.” It’s simply that a new generation is watching television today, and they’re shocked to see all these helmet exchanges, so they make jokes about it and ask if I came back only to switch helmets with all the drivers.
“In my museum, I have around 50 helmets.” However, many people did not pay attention to F1 until two or three years ago. Some of these individuals use social media to create all of this. You must, without a doubt, have a sense of comedy, or you will go insane.
“No, I just treat everyone as I believe they are entitled to. Lando is a kind man, and Daniel is as well. And I try not to get too engaged with individuals that I don’t get along with or don’t understand how they race or behave as a person.”
He does acknowledge, though, that his reputation and legacy are significant to him.
“I am concerned,” he says. “I’d be lying if I said ‘no.’” We compete here and are completely focused on the day-to-day, on performance, and on what we accomplish every weekend.
“However, in the long run, it would be great if there was no misunderstanding about how you were as a driver or how you got some of the achievements when you retire or go home.”
“In a sense, you’re working on some good themes that will hopefully last when you retire.”
“Thanks to the Netflix documentary, there are a lot of new followers in the sport, especially among the younger age” (series). Some of those individuals had never seen any of my races or titles.
“They’ve just seen the past few years, and they have a totally erroneous idea of who each of us is.”
In 2007, Alonso’s friendship with then-rookie McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton deteriorated.
F1 has a love-hate relationship.
Alonso says he’s “enjoying” his return and is attempting to keep outside distractions and worries to a minimal.
“I think I have a love-hate relationship with Formula One,” he admits. “I like racing. I adore automobiles. I like the technology used and how intelligent all of the engineers and members of the team are. These individuals teach you a lot.
“At the same time, you get the impression that it’s half business, half sport.” You can’t race under the same circumstances as some of your competitors, and there are a lot of media and sponsor events going on around the grand prix.
“As a result, you must save energy and give it your all while getting into the vehicle. Outside of the vehicle, I try to save as much energy as possible, which may explain why I give the appearance of being a quiet person.”
At the 2005 Brazilian Grand Prix, Alonso celebrated his first championship victory.
When Alonso announced his return, there were inevitably concerns about whether he would be the same driver now that he is in his fifth decade.
But, after a sluggish start and a few of tough qualifying sessions, Alonso has become stronger.
Despite his teammate Esteban Ocon’s unexpected victory in Hungary, he remains the top Alpine driver in the championship and has put in some outstanding performances.
Among them were the following:
- His first lap in the Silverstone’sprint’ race, in which he passed six cars in nine turns to go from 11th to fifth on the grid;
- In Hungary, a masterpiece of defensive driving held back Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes for 11 laps, securing Ocon’s victory;
- His performance in the Dutch Grand Prix last weekend, a brilliantly performed race of tyre management and pace used when needed, allowed him to overtake Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari for sixth position on the last lap.
Alonso, who is renowned for his high expectations of himself, claims that he is “still 10% or something like that (from being) at the peak of my game.”
“At some point, you’ll be totally pleased,” he adds, “when you feel like there’s not much (more) in the vehicle every time you go in it.” “You come to a halt in the garage, feeling as though you’ve squeezed every tenth of a second out of the vehicle.” I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting there.
“Adaptation to the vehicle, knowledge of the tyres and the various track circumstances when it continues changing or I have a new grip level; different weather conditions,” Alonso adds.
“With all of these factors, it seems like I’ll need a couple of laps to maximize the car’s capabilities, which is something new and part of this return. But, generally, I’m pleased with how things have turned out.”
The intricacy of the new F1 vehicles, he claims, has sped up the adaption process.
“In terms of how they transmit the downforce, the vehicles become a little bit more important,” Alonso adds. “These are vehicles that have already been highly refined after a few years of following the same regulations, so their downforce delivery is extremely ‘peaky.’”
“Then the tyres in the same manner. They operate in a very digital manner. You have the ability to turn them on and off. When they are not at the proper temperature, there is no way to deal with them. As a result of all of this, driving the vehicles at optimum performance got a little more challenging.”
Perennial champion Fernando Alonso is still aiming to end his career with a third title, but the Lotus driver is under pressure to prove that his 2016 form was no fluke after struggling to match the achievements of his two drivers’ title rivals in 2017.. Read more about f1 news and let us know what you think.
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