Alonso hints at F1 exit

Com­pet­ing in two se­ries takes toll

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - SPORT -

FER­NANDO Alonso has be­moaned his lack of any real home ad­van­tage for this week­end’s Span­ish Grand Prix and hinted that he may be con­sid­er­ing a fu­ture with­out For­mula One next year.

The two-time world cham­pion, who has one win at the Cir­cuit de Catalunya to his name, said he felt sad­dened by the cur­rent di­rec­tion of F1 and would not de­cide his plans for 2019 un­til after this year’s Euro­pean sum­mer break in Au­gust.

Talk­ing ahead of this week­end’s Span­ish Grand Prix, he sug­gested he was feel­ing the strain of his ef­forts to com­bine rac­ing in dif­fer­ent se­ries.

“I’m at­tempt­ing two world cham­pi­onships at the same time,” he said, re­fer­ring to F1 and the sports car world en­durance cham­pi­onship, which in­cludes the Le Mans 24-Hours race.

“I’m happy with the progress we did here at McLaren and the di­rec­tion things are go­ing -- so I’m happy here, but it’s quite de­mand­ing -- es­pe­cially the F1 cal­en­dar.

“The big­gest thing here is how pre­dictable ev­ery­thing is. We can put in the pa­per now what would be the qual­i­fy­ing here on Satur­day, what it would be in Monaco, what it would be in Sil­ver­stone.

“So that’s some­thing you need to take into ac­count for fu­ture de­ci­sions. This is sad in a way for For­mula One, the di­rec­tion ev­ery­thing went.”

Alonso is highly re­garded by all of the lead­ing F1 driv­ers de­spite it be­ing five years this week­end since he last won a Grand Prix. Sit­ting with an­other Spa­niard, Car­los Sainz of Re­nault, he also com­plained that the Barcelona track was used so much for win­ter test­ing.

“This year, for ex­am­ple, the track, they put new as­phalt last win­ter so it’s still a chal­lenge for all of us to un­der­stand the best set-up and how you get around this new track,” he said.

“The same with the wind di­rec- tion, the tem­per­a­ture. You know we come here over the win­ter with very cold tem­per­a­tures and then in May you need to re-adapt a lit­tle bit, so it’s al­ways chal­leng­ing.”

Al­sono was, how­ever, op­ti­mistic about his McLaren team, de­spite a dis­ap­point­ing start this year, and was keen to talk about his sus­tained mo­ti­va­tion.

“I kept the mo­ti­va­tion be­cause I’m a com­pet­i­tive man,” he said.

“I love to win. In 2013, we won here. I think the tyres were de­grad­ing a lot that year and we made an ex­tra stop and we man­aged to win the race.

“And not with the quick­est car. Nico [Ros­berg] was on pole by six tenths or some­thing. That was a good call by the team. In 2014, we had quite a dif­fi­cult sea­son and then the last three years you know that we strug­gled a lot.

“It’s the same this year. As I said, I think the start has been not too bad, in terms of re­sults es­pe­cially and the num­ber of points.

“My win last week­end in Spa will not change any­thing. I think it’s two dif­fer­ent se­ries and two dif­fer­ent worlds.

“It will not change any­thing for me. Ev­ery time that I will have a car that is close to vic­tory, I will go for it. I did some bet­ter races in the last five years, even if the last vic­tory was five years ago.

“And the Baku race is one of the best . . . I will never prob­a­bly do a race as I did in Baku and I fin­ished sev­enth.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to see from the out­side, but ex­tremely proud and mo­ti­vated ev­ery time you do a one-off per­for­mance.” – AFP

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