Fernando Alonso says profitable a 3rd Components 1 World Championship continues to be his important goal – however accepts that attaining it might not be attainable.
The 40-year-old, who returned to Components 1 this season, added that he feels he can proceed for a number of years to come back.
Alonso mentioned: “Inside, I’ve the identical spirit and the identical racing ambitions and profitable the third championship is the one factor that motivates me.
“However with time you realise that not every thing is underneath your management, there are belongings you can’t possibly overcome.
“If you aren’t getting there, at the least you tried and had been as near the third championship as attainable.”
Alonso was talking in an unique BBC Sport interview, wherein he mentioned quite a few facets of his comeback:
- His “love-hate” relationship with the game
- Why he cares about his legacy and status
- His relationship with the brand new era of drivers
- How lengthy he desires to proceed
- How shut he feels to his greatest stage
Alonso – world champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and winner of 32 grands prix – left F1 on the finish of 2018 to pursue different ambitions in motorsport.
However he was tempted again this season by the Alpine group – previously generally known as Renault – on the premise that the brand new guidelines being launched for subsequent season, that are aimed toward bringing the sphere nearer collectively, had been a chance for each to return to competitiveness.
Alonso will flip 41 in the course of subsequent yr, however desires to proceed for a while to come back.
“I’ll see yr by yr,” the Spaniard says. “I’ll first should get pleasure from persevering with in F1 and really feel I’m quick sufficient. If in the future I really feel I’m not aggressive, I do not really feel the automobile, I’m not having fun with the racing, I would be the first one to boost my hand and provides a chance to a brand new man.
“However hopefully that does not occur so I can maintain racing for, I do not know, at the least two, three, 4 years.
“I do not assume age is an issue. In case you have extra downforce, you go faster within the corners; you probably have extra energy, you go faster on the straights. It isn’t that with 20 years or 40 years (of age) this adjustments a lot.”
‘You must have a way of humour’
Alonso has turn into a motorsport icon for his achievements over the previous 20 years, and his return has been welcomed by the brand new era of drivers, a few of whom had not raced in opposition to him earlier than.
They’re glad to point out their admiration for him, and to have the possibility to compete in opposition to him on the observe.
New Mercedes signing George Russell lately known as Alonso “one of many best racing drivers ever”, after the pair swapped helmets.
Alonso has additionally added McLaren driver Lando Norris’ helmet to the gathering in his museum in his house city of Oviedo, and wrote a message to Norris that the Briton was “a rock star”.
And when McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo celebrated 200 races in F1 final month, the Australian cited a battle with Alonso on the 2014 German Grand Prix as one of many highlights of his profession.
Does Alonso really feel he’s having fun with a standing as a form of elder statesman or dwelling legend?
He laughs. “I’ve by no means thought of that,” he says. “I dunno. It is simply there’s now a special era watching the tv they usually see all these helmet swaps and they’re stunned about this they usually make some jokes about it and ask if I got here again simply to swap helmets with all of the drivers.
“I’ve greater than 50 helmets in my museum. However many individuals did not comply with something till two or three years in the past in F1. A few of these persons are in social media and making all this stuff. You must have some sense of humour, for positive, as a result of if not you’re going to get loopy.
“No, I simply deal with everybody as I really feel they deserve. Lando is an efficient man, the identical with Daniel. And the individuals who possibly I do not get very nicely, or I do not perceive the way in which they race or act as an individual, I strive to not get too concerned with them.”
He admits, although, that his legacy and status are essential to him.
“I do care,” he says. “I’d lie if I say ‘no’. We race right here and we’re completely targeted on the daily, on the efficiency and what we obtain each weekend.
“(However) in the long run it might be good when finally you retire or are at house there’s not the improper notion of the way you had been as a driver or the way you achieved a number of the outcomes.
“In a method, you’re employed on some constructive messages that hopefully keep for longer after you retire.
“There are lots of new followers within the sport, lots of (the) youthful era, from the Netflix documentary (sequence). These folks by no means noticed a few of my races or a few of my championships.
“They solely noticed the final couple of years they usually have a totally improper notion of who each certainly one of us is.”
A ‘love-hate’ relationship with F1
Alonso says he’s “having fun with” his comeback and that he’s making an effort to maintain to a minimal the distractions of occasions and issues exterior the automobile.
“Most likely I’ve a love-hate relationship with F1,” he says. “I like racing. I like the vehicles. I like the know-how concerned and the way intelligent all of the engineers and everybody within the group is. You study rather a lot from these folks.
“On the identical time, you’re feeling it’s half-business, half a sport. You aren’t capable of compete on the identical circumstances as a few of your opponents, and there’s a lot of media actions, lots of sponsor actions across the grand prix as nicely.
“So it is advisable to save the power and be 100% when you find yourself leaping within the automobile. And outdoors the automobile I attempt to save as a lot power as attainable and possibly that’s the reason the impression is that I’m a quiet particular person.”
After Alonso’s comeback was introduced, there have been inevitable questions as as to if he could be the identical driver as he was, now he’s into his fifth decade.
However after what Alonso admits was a barely gradual begin, with a few troublesome qualifying periods, he has turn into more and more sturdy.
He’s the main Alpine driver within the championship, regardless of his team-mate Esteban Ocon’s shock win in Hungary, and has put in some star performances.
Amongst them had been:
- His first lap within the Silverstone ‘dash’ race, when he overtook six vehicles in 9 corners to rise from eleventh on the grid to fifth;
- A masterclass of defensive driving to carry again Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes for 11 laps in Hungary, a key consider making certain Ocon’s win;
- His drive within the Dutch GP final weekend, an expertly executed race of tyre administration and tempo utilized when essential, to go the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz for sixth place on the final lap.
Alonso – identified for the excessive requirements he expects of himself – says he’s “nonetheless 10% or one thing like that (from being) on the high of my recreation”.
“You’ll be utterly glad at one level, once you really feel that each time you bounce within the automobile there’s not a lot (extra) in it,” he says. “You cease within the storage and you are feeling you squeezed each tenth of a second out of the automobile. I’m not possibly in that place but, however shut.
“There are a few issues that also must be improved – adaption to the automobile, understanding of the tyres and the totally different observe circumstances when it retains altering or I’ve a brand new grip stage; totally different climate circumstances,” Alonso says.
“(With) all these sorts of issues, it appears I would like once more a few laps to maximise the potential of the automobile, and that is one thing that’s new and a part of this comeback. However general (I am) proud of how issues have gone.”
He says the variation course of has been brought on by the complexity of the newest F1 vehicles.
“The vehicles grew to become slightly bit extra essential when it comes to how they ship the downforce,” Alonso says. “These are vehicles which might be very extremely developed already after just a few years with the identical guidelines so they’re very ‘peaky’ in the way in which they ship the downforce.
“After which the tyres the identical method. They’re fairly digital in the way in which they work. You turn them on or off. There isn’t a solution to take care of them when they don’t seem to be on the proper temperature. So (with) all this stuff it grew to become slightly bit tougher to drive the vehicles in peak efficiency.”
You’ll be able to hearken to the interview with Fernando Alonso within the 5 Stay Components 1 Italian Grand Prix preview at 21.30 BST on Friday, 10 September