Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Alonso may have stayed in F1 with a competitive car

2018 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso has admitted he might have stayed in Formula 1 if he had a competitive car.

The McLaren driver announced last week he will not return to F1 next year. He later blamed the sport’s predictability for his decision to leave, saying the action is not as exciting as when he joined F1 in 2001.

However in response to a question from RaceFans in today’s press conference, Alonso admitted that not having a competitive car was also a factor.

“I think definitely it plays a part of it,” he said. “If you are in one of those [top] two teams probably you keep going even if you don’t enjoy the races or the trips or the amount of years that you’ve been doing the same thing, that’s for sure.”

Alonso said he didn’t intend for his comments and F1 being predictable to be taken as a comparison with past F1 seasons or other championships.

“Formula 1 has always been a sport that dominates one or two teams,” he said. “The package is way more important.

“Within different seasons and different years that we had a little bit more freedom of strategy or choices or tyres. Even if one team was clearly dominant that season and world champion at whatever part of the year there’ve been always some race with heat, with cold, with wet, with inters that provides some action.

“Same with the strategy. In 2004 I won zero grands prix but I was in a couple of pole positions or podiums or whatever because we chose to run light fuel on Saturdays or gamble for the race. There’s been always a little bit of action. Maybe now it’s not the same.

“It’s nothing to compare, all my comments are not to compare those seasons against these years recently, or other series compared to this series, because normally my words have been taken to compare different series and different seasons and say that I’m wrong. Probably I’m wrong.

“It’s my decision and I’m happy with that.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Alonso may have stayed in F1 with a competitive car”

  1. Personally, I disagree. I generally disliked the 2004-2009 era (relative to 2010 onwards), as overtake numbers were low, but more importantly you rarely ever saw any overtakes among the frontrunners, which are the main battles everyone wants to see. Take 2007 for example. We had 4 top drivers fighting it out in 2 different teams, yet I can only count a handful of times that one of them overtake another on track. Hamilton on Raikkonen in Italy, Alonso on Massa in China, Raikkonen on Hamilton in China, Massa on Alonso in Canada (probably doesn’t even count as Alonso went off track). Those were about the only overtakes I can remember happening between those 4 drivers all year. I probably missed quite a few, but I’m confident that we’ve probably seen far more in the past 11 races alone.

    1. Alonso on Massa for the lead in Nurburgring.

      But yeah, 2007 was boring. It was always a matter of keeping the lead and looking to avoid an undercut from someone heavier.

  2. Loving this man, he’s Trumpian. Sky are quoting him on Red Bull offering him a seat. Both things can’t be true.

    1. He knows how uncompetitive the RB-Honda will be.

    2. @hahostolze Did you happen to read the article?

      If you are in one of those [top] two teams

      Last I checked, Red Bull wasn’t one of the top two teams.

      1. You know I did. And even so he talks about a certain competitiveness comparing to other years, and years in which the third team at midway wasn’t on three wins. So it’s a nonsense comment. But you enjoy believing him.

    3. Apparently he said so himself @hahostolze, according to the tweet posted below by @Toncho. If history is going to repeat itself (and it usually does), Alonso skipping their offer means it’s very likely that Red Bull will be race winners next year with Honda, and may even split the top 2 teams in the WCC.

    4. @hahostolze

      You lefties lie too (re your Anti-Trump comment and you watching Sky)

  3. I don’t see any of the good aspects from those years missing from current season(s). Alonso is projecting his personal situation over the entire field, poor bloke. I don’t blame him anyway.

  4. Unlike the posters above me I agree with alonso 100%. Driving for mclaren hoping to grab occasional top10 and hoping the next year mclaren (in perfect case) is good enough for p5 or p7 is not worth it for one of the best drivers in the grid. Regardless of his political acts his arguments make perfect sense. Unless you are driving for mercedes or ferrari you are not going to be in the fight for any championships. It is not going to happen as long as these engine regs stay. Period. It is a cold hard fact and it will be at least 5 more years before that changes. That’s more years than alonso has left in him. Probably more than half of the grid has time left in f1.

    Ferrari and mercedes have it all just they way they like it. Expensive engines, satellite teams they have full control of and full control of future technical regulations that guarantee them total domination over the next seasons. Why bother? For the money? Alonso has already more than he can spend in his life time. Ferrari and merc are still making big gains in the engine department. Renault and honda need to do their best just to keep up. There is no converging of performance visible in the near future.

    You could take senna, fangio, schumacher, vettel, hamilton and alonso all at their peaks and combine them into one super driver and that super driver would never finish higher than 5th in straight fight. You can take adrian newey, john barnard, colin chapman and gordon murray to make one super car designer and you still would not make a chassis fast enough to challenge the division 1 cars. Unless you have billions to spend on building your own engine you can not fight for any championships for the next 5 years. Only a miracle of honda-red bull can change things. And miracles are not real. Brawn is doing all the right things but he is fighting against the ferrari-merc wind mills.

  5. It’s not F1’s fault.
    It’s Mclaren-Honda’s.
    What he needed was to be on the main team of an engine supplier and he was.
    But two of the four engines aren’t good enough to race with the other two, and he was on the low end of the stick.
    Vettel would never allow Alonso there, Hamilton, even less.
    If he came back to Mclaren, he could come back to any team. But to Toto Wolff and Horner it’s easier to blame his caustic behavior.

    1. Completely disagree. The only person to blame for his situation is himself.

      His attitude has cost him drives at McLaren and Ferrari in the past and his constant moaning and problematic attitude was no doubt on the teams minds when considering who to hire.

      I doubt Hamilton or Vettel would block Alonso. Hamilton did very well against him in 07 and is coming towards the end of his career. The chance to beat him again would be welcomed and it wouldn’t damage his reputation much if Alonso were to get the better of him. The same could be said for Vettel too. The problem for Alonso is that even if they welcomed the move there’s no way Ferrari would re-hire him and Mercedes don’t need him. RedBull could have gone there but Horner has said in the past he’d never hire Alonso. Who’s fault is that ? It can only be Alonsos. If he’d dealt with his situations better he could have won a Championship in 08, snatched one in 2012 and if he stuck with Ferrari he’d have had a chance last year and be sitting in the best car this year.

      1. Hamilton and Vettel gave their two cents to block Alonso. It was not their decision, but they made perfectly clear that they didn’t want him alongside them.
        Their WDC will be less shining without Alonso being there, though

      2. Hamilton and Vettel blocked Riccairdo so why not Alonso? Alonso beat Lewis 7 times in 2008 in a vastly inferior Renault and then again in an inferior Ferrari.

        As a driver Alonso is in a different league to any team manager on the grid. Only Ron Dennis was on the same level and could deal with 2 superstars at once.

        If what you’ve said about Alonso is true, then McLaren and Ferrari would have never hired him. He complained at Renault too but won the title twice with them anyway.

      3. As bigjoe said, if they would never block Alonso, why they have as team mates, inferior drivers?
        Vettel is pushing Kimi into that Ferrari for years already, underperforming for the vast majority of the time.

        Ricciardo had to go to Renault to avoid sinking with Honda power because there was no better option for him.

        The reason Alonso ran out of opportunities is because Ferrari and Mercedes are locked for top drivers at least until these two guys leave. Honda and Renault power aren’t nearly enough for him to have a shot at a WDC.

  6. Dear Papa Stroll. Since you have lots of pesos to throw around why not build an engine. F1 is so unfair, only Mercedes and Ferrari can go fast because they can make a fast engine. Or give Porsche a couple of billions and brand the engine Strollie Pollie. Just thinking…

    1. He doesn’t have more money than a works team.

  7. No need to comment.
    “Fernando Alonso: Red Bull deny Spanish driver’s claim they tried to sign him twice.”
    Red Bull have denied a claim by Fernando Alonso that he was twice offered a drive with them next season before he decided to retire from Formula 1 at the end of this year.

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