Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Alonso rejects rivals’ claims he is leaving because he has no competitive drive

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso vehemently rejected claims from rival drivers he is leaving Formula 1 because there is no competitive drive available for him next year.

During today’s FIA press conference Carlos Sainz Jnr and Max Verstappen said they believe Alonso is leaving because he is unlikely to be in a position to win races next year.

“I think it is something for Formula 1 and to everyone to consider why one of the best drivers is leaving and why we cannot have a bit more competitive grid where many drivers can fight for wins or for podiums,” said Sainz.

When this was put to Alonso he firmly reiterated he is leaving F1 on his terms.

“I could have a competitive car,” said Alonso. “I’m not stopping because I don’t have a competitive car. I’ve been saying the same thing from August.

“I stopped because I did everything I wanted in Formula 1. I arrived in Formula 1, I won grands prix in Formula 1, I won championships in Formula 1, I broke records in Formula 1. I drove for McLaren, for Renault, for Ferrari.

“I have 37 years and I cannot do more in Formula 1. All the things I dreamed in Formula 1 are done. There are new things in motor sport that are bigger than Formula 1.

Alonso insisted he is leaving “because I want to, not because I’ve been forced to stop.”

“I want to stop because I achieve in Formula 1 more than what I dream of and it’s time to achieve even bigger things outside Formula 1. In Formula 1 there is always the feeling of here is the biggest thing in the world. And if someone goes, people don’t understand that maybe he wants to go. Thinks that he has to go because there is not a competitive car to race with.

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“I could have maybe a competitive car or maybe McLaren next year is super-competitive, who knows. But I don’t want even to try. I want to stop because I think that I can be a better driver, a more complete driver and better for my career outside Formula 1. Because this chapter is already done, with a lot of success in my opinion. And maybe there are other things outside Formula 1 that I need to conquer. I didn’t success in other areas of motorsport and I will try those.”

Alonso said he is proud of his achievements in F1 and believes this is the perfect time to leave, but says other people do not see it that way.

“I feel a lot of respect all my career in Formula 1. I have been always considered by the team owners, by the team principals, I’ve been always respected and highly rated. I feel very privileged racing for those teams, having the respect for my team mates, other drivers, you guys, the media, the fans. It has been perfect. It’s a perfect time to stop and I feel perfect now.

“So again when tomorrow or next week it’s a sad thing that I’m leaving, I have the respect of all the team principals. The teams, I raced for the best manufactures. I’ve been paid a lot more than when I was in go-karts thinking of my salary in the future.

“I have a wonderful life. I arrive to Mexico and they give 30,000 [masks] for everyone to say bye-bye. In Abu Dhabi will be the same thing. I feel so privileged, I feel so happy, so respected around the world that I can only say thank you. It has been a perfect journey. Not a sad journey or a sad end.

“But I know that it doesn’t matter what I say because it’s what the general opinion wants to think or wants to see.”

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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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17 comments on “Alonso rejects rivals’ claims he is leaving because he has no competitive drive”

  1. And if that was the case, why did Alonso leave Ferrari frustrated at their performance?.

    Why has he been whinging about McLarens lack of competitiveness?

    He wanted to win another title. He knows he can’t. McLaren are too far away, will be for years and his routes to all the top drives are closed, regardless of what he claims.

    If Mercedes were to have offered him Bottas’s seat for example. he’d have been there like a rat up a drainpipe.

    Yes, he’s leaving on his terms in as much as teams want him still, but it’s wrong to say he achieved all he wanted and his rivals are wrong, they aren’t, It clearly all came down to the competitive factor.

  2. Doubt… he’d keep going if he had a Mercedes.

  3. He is going on his own terms..definitely – but based on available options . No one is forcing him out.

    Sad that he cant hide it. He should have done a Rosberg if he had accomplished everything.

  4. This is just BS.If McLaren were fighting for podiums or the odd win he’d definitely stay on for another year.

    1. Yet he says he declined a red bull offer this year, that’s silly then, cause he’d easily get podiums and wins with them.

  5. I thought he always wanted that third championship? I don’t believe him.

  6. “I could have a competitive car,” said Alonso.

    That must have been the Red Bull “offer” then ;)
    I’s a pity F1 lost him but it was good and long enough.

  7. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much….

    1. @wombat1m – Indeed, it does seem like the case, doesn’t it?

  8. another shot alongside Hamilton in the current Merc, don’t tell me you wouldn’t take that…

  9. I think he’s just made peace with the fact that an opportunity for a 3rd title won’t present itself to him. No point trundling around in a back marker car when you can achieve a whole lot more in other racing series.

    It’s obvious he would stay if he had a Mercedes or Ferrari drive next season. But what’s the point in mentioning that to the press or media.

    Part of me still hopes Ferrari get rid of Vettel and get Alonso back for one season. He’d be giving it a 110% for that last title and there’s no way he’d crumble the way Vettel has.

  10. I see Alonso as one of those scientists who goes and engages his mind to get some satisfaction. He may be studying distant galaxies or ant colonies, suffice to say, he doesn’t want to just sit down and watch the TV, he wants to enjoy what he is doing.
    Take Rosberg as an example, he walked away from a winning car, because he had achieved what he set out to achieve. Alonso had always said he never expected to win championships, even before he got into Mclaren. I believe he just wants competition, good competition, even if he doesn’t win.
    Alonso left Ferrari because Ferrari were not listening to even Costa and Domenicalli when they said there was something wrong with the wind tunnel. If a fault is identified and no effort is made to fix it, then that team can not be considered a serious team.
    As much as Alonso appears brash and temperamental, he has always maintained he came from humble beginnings and never expected to achieve what he has.
    I’m inclined to believe him rather than believe my own thoughts.

  11. It’s a shame to see Fernando sink to the depths of others in F1 and tell blatant, illogical lies.

    So Fernando, you’re leaving because you’ve done everything you wanted to in F1 and not because you can’t get a good seat? Why did you race this year then? Did you think at the end of last season “hmmm…. I’ve done almost everything I wanted in F1 except for having another crappy season in a slow, unreliable car”

    1. To take it to it’s logical end he should have retired after 2008 when he was only able to win by cheating.

      1. BS Matt, give it a rest. It has been proven time and time that was clearly Flav and Pat’s doing and not alonso.

  12. José Lopes da Silva
    26th October 2018, 13:19

    We’re tired to listen him saying he wanted the feel of winning and having a competitive drive.
    He was one in WEC, with Toyota, rival of Honda. He trashed Honda repeatedly.
    In has no competitive drive in F1 nor in Indycar because he burned every bridge, so he’ll stay at WEC.
    Eventually, he’ll try Formula E.

  13. I think he has reflected about all these years in F1, and realized there is more out there. Other Motorsport competitions could be more exciting for him given that he has been in F1 for 17 years, the last 5 quite boring for someone who is always seeking to win. One might think that Alonso’s comments in the past were incoherent with his current line of thought, but as I said, there is a personal experience/maturity/process of years to bear in mind.

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