Alonso’s ‘best’ quotes of his fi­nal year

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - Ben An­der­son

The dou­ble cham­pion de­parts grand prix rac­ing rail­ing against its pre­dictabil­ity, be­moan­ing it’s more about off-track polemics than on-track ex­cite­ment, and crit­i­cis­ing the ‘am­a­teur’ abil­i­ties of some of the driv­ers. Here Ben An­der­son picks the off-track high­lights of Alonso’s fi­nal (we think) out­spo­ken sea­son in F1 “The best race of my life” Azer­bai­jan GP

Alonso be­came fond of hail­ing his own ef­forts, but haul­ing a dam­aged car to sev­enth at Baku in April was de­serv­ing of self-praise. “It was the re­sult of per­sis­tence and pride,” he said, hav­ing had to pit with dam­age at the end of lap one. “I think no-one [else] would have reached the pit­lane. They would have parked the car and if they could reach the pit­lane they would have re­tired. But we didn’t park or re­tire the car and fought for ev­ery tenth, ev­ery lap, close to the walls all race long. I think it was the best race of my life.”

“Prob­a­bly the most bor­ing race ever in For­mula 1” Monaco GP

Alonso skipped the first Monaco race held un­der F1’s last aero­dy­namic revo­lu­tion to con­test 2017’s Indy 500, and was un­der­whelmed by this year’s race: “Ex­tremely bor­ing. With­out a safety car, with­out yel­low flags, the sport needs to think a lit­tle bit about the show be­cause this is very dis­ap­point­ing. Prob­a­bly the most bor­ing race ever in For­mula 1.”

Pre­dictable F1 “will prob­a­bly never change” Cana­dian GP

He es­ca­lated his crit­i­cism of F1 in the build-up to the sum­mer break, be­fore an­nounc­ing he’d take a sab­bat­i­cal at the end of the sea­son. “It’s ob­vi­ously the top se­ries in mo­tor­sport, but it’s true that in the last years things are so pre­dictable,” he lamented. “You can play bas­ket­ball and one night have a magic night and you score 80 points and maybe win the game to­gether with your team-mates. Here every­one can guar­an­tee that Mercedes or Fer­rari will win the race. Prob­a­bly it will never change. This has been F1 for many years.”

“What we’ve done is a revo­lu­tion for mo­tor­sport” French GP

Alonso’s vic­tory with Toy­ota at Le Mans in June – which he bizarrely claimed was on a “higher level” than any other Le Mans win ever – fol­low­ing his un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt at win­ning the Indy 500 in 2017, led Alonso to claim he is pi­o­neer­ing a revo­lu­tion against mod­ern mo­tor­sport’s highly spe­cialised na­ture by com­pet­ing in mul­ti­ple cat­e­gories. “In the last two decades, we were more into pro­fes­sional driv­ers in one dis­ci­pline max­imis­ing the skills in that dis­ci­pline,” he ex­plained. “What we are do­ing now is go­ing back a cou­ple of decades and chang­ing mo­tor­sport and I’m happy to lead that change. What we’ve done over the past years is prob­a­bly a revo­lu­tion for mo­tor­sport.”

“FOM is quite an­noy­ing with my ra­dio” Hun­gar­ian GP

The rea­son much of Alonso’s ra­dio chat­ter is broad­cast is that he’s en­ter­tain­ing, but he took ex­cep­tion after his Q2 ex­change with Mclaren’s en­gi­neers was aired in Hun­gary, where he re­sponded to a query about whether to run in­ter­me­di­ate or wet tyres by say­ing: “I don’t know, mate. Put what­ever tyre you want. The last sec­tor is im­pos­si­ble so even if you put on a rock­et­ship we would be 11th”. Af­ter­wards Alonso said: “FOM is quite an­noy­ing with my ra­dio. It’s their favourite hobby, so good luck to them.”

Claim­ing he’d re­jected Ric­cia­rdo’s old seat Bel­gian GP

Daniel Ric­cia­rdo shocked F1 by turn­ing down a new Red Bull con­tract to join Re­nault for 2019. Alonso claimed he’d been of­fered the seat and asked Red Bull to apol­o­gise for re­peated de­nials of this. “The of­fers I had, in­clud­ing that one [from Red Bull], they were not for win­ning,” he said. “To be fifth, sixth or sev­enth will not be the same chal­lenge as I can find away from F1 in 2019.”

“There are many classes of driv­ers, then there’s Haas” Ital­ian GP

There was a feel­ing among sec­tions of the grid that Alonso be­came more ag­gres­sive after an­nounc­ing his de­ci­sion to quit F1. At Monza, he clashed with Pierre Gasly and mocked Haas driver Kevin Mag­nussen after the pair came to blows at the first chi­cane in qual­i­fy­ing. “There are many classes of driv­ers and then there are the Haas ones, who have the third or fourth-best car of the grid and are out in Q2,” said Alonso. “It doesn’t change much for me, I guess more for them, but it’s fun, a lot of fun.”

F2 more fun for fans than “non­sense” F1 qual­i­fy­ing Rus­sian GP

The lack of cars run­ning in qual­i­fy­ing for the Rus­sian GP, where the Re­nault and Honda-pow­ered ma­chines were com­pro­mised by grid penal­ties, led Alonso to sug­gest the spec­ta­cle was “non­sense” and “bor­ing” for F1 fans. “It’s more ask­ing the fans what they think to have a non­sense Q1 and a not very im­por­tant Q2,” he said. “At least I think they en­joyed the F2 race. It’s def­i­nitely the most fun part of the day for the spec­ta­tor.”

18th fastest with “one of the best laps I did in my life” Ja­panese GP

Qual­i­fy­ing hero­ics again from Alonso, who in 2017 claimed his Chi­nese GP qual­i­fy­ing lap for 13th place was a “divine present” for how well he drove. Hav­ing claimed that qual­i­fy­ing 13th for the Bri­tish GP was the best lap of his sea­son up to that point, ow­ing to Mclaren’s lack of down­force, Alonso felt he was even bet­ter in qual­i­fy­ing 18th in Ja­pan. “It has prob­a­bly been one of the best laps I did in my life at Suzuka,” he said. “I saw the on­board in the en­gi­neers’ room. If you have a chance, watch it be­cause there is not 1mm in any cor­ner, on en­try, on exit, on the kerb. It was max­i­mum risk.”

“There are more amateurs in F1 than any other se­ries” United States GP

In com­ments he later clar­i­fied, Alonso sug­gested F1 con­tained more am­a­teur driv­ers than the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship (which ac­tu­ally in­cludes an am­a­teur class!) after he was elim­i­nated from the US GP in a first-lap clash with Lance Stroll’s Wil­liams. “There are more amateurs here than in other se­ries,” Alonso said. “Maybe when there’s a big crash they [the FIA] will do some­thing. Un­til then we’ll try to have fun in other cat­e­gories where we race against 34 cars, against am­a­teur peo­ple, against 60-year-old men and noth­ing ever hap­pens. Here we need bumpers, like rental go-karts, so we can all crash into each other.”

TEE/LAT

For­mula 2 in Rus­sia: more fun than F1 qual­i­fy­ing?

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