Fer­nando Alonso con­sid­ered quit­ting F1 at end of sea­son

Tehran Times - - WORLD SPORTS -

Two-time world cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso has said he con­sid­ered quit­ting For­mula 1 at the end of last sea­son.

In the wake of three years of poor re­sults with strug­gling McLaren, the Spa­niard pon­dered switch­ing full-time to IndyCar or en­durance rac­ing.

How­ever, he said: “I felt it was not the time for me to step out - not af­ter these re­sults, not with this feel­ing.

“I knew I’d re­gret it for the rest of my life and I’d have this bad taste for the rest of my rac­ing ca­reer.”

The 36-year-old, who was talk­ing in an in­ter­view pub­lished in the lat­est F1 Rac­ing mag­a­zine, re-signed for McLaren, who have swapped their trou­ble­some Honda en­gines for Re­nault. Alonso has also com­mit­ted to the 2018-19 sea­son with Toy­ota in the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship, in­clud­ing two shots at win­ning Le Mans.

He said: “Def­i­nitely I still want to suc­ceed. There is un­fin­ished busi­ness for me and McLaren to­gether.”

The Spa­niard set the sec­ond fastest time in pre-sea­son test­ing last week but that was af­ter McLaren had had eight dif­fi­cult days plagued with un­re­li­a­bil­ity.

Alonso said that his at­tempt at the In­di­anapo­lis 500 last year, when he led for a num­ber of laps and was con­tend­ing for vic­tory in the clos­ing stages when his en­gine failed, had “wo­ken up all my rac­ing senses”.

He said McLaren’s lack of per­for­mance dur­ing the Honda era had made him for­get the ex­tra buzz that comes from run­ning at the front.

“I hadn’t felt it for a while but now I feel i could do a very good sea­son if we have a good pack­age this year be­cause I am sure I will be able to put in the ‘ex­tra’ that I have put in all my ca­reer,” he said.

“That has been the most dif­fi­cult thing to give to the team over the past three years: the com­mit­ment, the work, sim­u­la­tor feed­back.

“That’s some­thing that comes nat­u­rally to a racer but to give ex­tra when you’re in Mex­ico and you have a power-unit penalty and start­ing last be­cause of a 35-place en­gine penalty, things like the ex­tra two-10ths or moves in the race - or maybe a magic start don’t come out. It’s not con­scious. It’s just how you feel on the day.”

Alonso said he was not frus­trated “too much” with be­ing stuck on two world ti­tles since 2006, de­spite be­ing re­garded as one of the best driv­ers of his era, and three near-misses in 2007, 2010 and 2012.

“When you’re fight­ing for the world cham­pi­onship with some­one and he gets the ti­tle, that’s frus­trat­ing,” Alonso said. “You start think­ing: ‘I de­serve it more.’ But I don’t have that feel­ing when I’m not in the cham­pi­onship fight.

“Ac­tu­ally, Lewis (Hamil­ton) re­ally de­serves the cham­pi­onships he’s hav­ing now. He had more tal­ent than the re­sults showed at the be­gin­ning. Now it’s a bit eas­ier for him be­cause his car is dom­i­nant, but he’s equal with Se­bas­tian (Vet­tel) and that’s fair.”

How­ever, he added: “I know the num­bers are a lit­tle bit un­fair with us. Maybe this year we’ll get some luck back.”

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