Alonso on... F1's health, WEC, IndyCar and Dakar

Alpine racer Fernando Alonso returned to Formula 1 after a two-year sabbatical, completing something of a motorsport odyssey.

Alonso on... F1's health, WEC, IndyCar and Dakar

The highlights were his pair of Le Mans triumphs as part of a Toyota crew, the World Endurance Championship super-season crown – also alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima – and 2019 Daytona 24 Hours triumph with Wayne Taylor Racing. And, of course, there were his failed bids to win the Indianapolis 500 and a foray into the Dakar Rally.

When his return with what was then called Renault was announced in July 2020, Alonso made clear he had been enticed back to F1 by the feeling that Renault/Alpine would give him the chance to return to the championship’s highest level – with the rules reset coming in 2022.

Right now, that goal is his sole focus, unlike in 2018 when his opening WEC super-season entries were combined with the final year of his return to McLaren. Alonso suggests he had plenty of options to race in other categories aside from F1 in 2021 but chose not to.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Here is modern motorsport’s versatility star explaining precisely why he chose to return to grand prix racing when he did, as well as his thoughts on the categories he left behind:

“Right now, I think, especially after the pandemic, [F1] is the series that is more capable to produce a good show and to produce a good competition. Like, in 2018, when I left, I was very honest with everybody saying that 'I had better feelings or ideas elsewhere than Formula 1'. And I had more attractive challenges in WEC or in Indy or in Dakar than what Formula 1 offered me at that time.

“Now, it is exactly the same point. In 2020, when I made the decision to come back, all the other series were on the table, and I thought that Formula 1 was the best challenge in that moment. And the best competition.

“Even with the pandemic, the teams are still very strong and in good health economically and on performance side to produce fantastic cars and a good show. While some other series, maybe they've been more affected by the pandemic and by the sponsorship [loss] and by everything. This is my feeling.

Read Also:

“Obviously IndyCar did only one race [Barber, when Alonso was speaking ahead of the Portuguese GP] or two races now with St Petersburg. It felt good and it's always gonna be a nice championship. But maybe I was more attracted by F1.

“Dakar is still one thing that I can do in the future and has no problem of having more years into other categories.

“And WEC. I think it's in a transition period at the moment. With the hypercar, until all the manufacturers [arrive], and they don't come [until] 2023, I think it's in a transition period.

“So, I thought that Formula 1 was the best thing on the table. Like it was not in 2018. But, this is obviously only a personal opinion and a personal motivation that drives you to choose the next challenge.”

The full interview with Alonso will be featured in the 20 May issue of Autosport magazine, which will be available in shops and to subscribe online here: https://www.autosportmedia.com.

shares
comments
How F1 has made itself battle-ready for calendar shocks
Previous article

How F1 has made itself battle-ready for calendar shocks

Next article

Williams: Russell very close to Hamilton's early F1 career level

Williams: Russell very close to Hamilton's early F1 career level
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022