“My competitiveness was as high as ever, people didn’t see it”

At 41 years old, there is little left for him to achieve Fernando Alonso within motorsport. However, his motivation continues to stay higher than ever. He has been a two-time world champion, has won 32 races within F1, an Endurance World Championship, two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has participated in a Dakar, in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Indianapolis 500 … but for the Asturian it is still not enough. It is true that he lacks a victory in this last appointment to reach the desired Triple Crownbut His main objective at present is to achieve the triple, but within Formula 1.

And with Aston Martin he has always seen possibilities. It is a project that amazed him from the first moment and, with a dream start to the season with four podium finishes in five races, expectations are growing for the future. Who would have thought it just five years ago, when Alonso announced his goodbye to the great circus after 17 seasons in the elite. He had not won for five courses, 12 years without being a champion and that led him to forge an exit that he himself did not want. “When I finished, I was in low hours. I didn’t want that because my performance, my competitiveness, was as high as ever then, but people didn’t see it.” confesses Fernando in an interview with The New York Times. And, although ten years have recently passed since his last victory in Barcelona, ​​the Aston Martin man assumes that he is “proving that I am still fast, no matter how old I am”. “It’s part of the comeback story,” he explains, hoping to “win the 33rd grand prix or fight for a championship” to add “more drama to the story.”

It seems ambitious, but the project of his new brand gives reason to dream. They are also his own merits: since his return in 2021, with an Alpine halfway, the Spaniard amazed everyone, even those who did not trust his return to the most demanding competition. He did not achieve the expected results in the French brand and, while negotiating a new contract with the Frenchmen, Lawrence Stroll appeared with a ray of light on the horizon. “I received a call asking if I was already committed to Alpine,” reveals Alonso, who explained that, despite the fact that “the talks were quite advanced,” he still had “nothing in writing” that would make their union official for the next few years. Being good friends for years, the agreement was not long in coming: “He told me that if I sent him something in writing today, he would take it into account. He sent it to me, I was glad, and since I had nothing from the other party, it was an easy decision. Everything went faster thanks to that relationship over the years.”

JARED C. TILTONAFP

Dreams to fulfill

And his bet turned out better than expected because, although he trusted the project in the long term, he never thought that the current performance and the results could come so quickly: “I thought it would take time to reach a certain level, that maybe in 2024 we could fight for podiums. I didn’t expect the car to offer the kind of performance we have now. “I trusted the project”, confesses Alonso, who felt that it was “a beautiful adventure for the end of my career, to start with a team that has such enthusiasm and good prospects”. And, at first glance, he was not wrong. But it is aware that his time in Formula 1 is already limited.”I am aware of my age,” he reveals. “I know I won’t be here for the next 10 years, or whatever, so maybe when I stop racing, I’ll be linked to the team in some way.” He adds, still with the illusion of reaching number 33 and, why not, something else: “Winning a championship would be perfect.”

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“If I win another championship all these years from the last one, it would be unprecedented, that kind of distance between two championships. That’s my goal right now.” Fernando comments that, aware that he is setting himself a rather complex challenge, he is content to leave his mark within F1, so that he will always be reminded: “Or the legacy that I want to leave in this sport, of someone who loves it enough to continue running for many years, keeping the level as high as possible. That would show something, something that was part of my comeback.” And, although it may seem that there is no dream left to fulfill, Alonso reveals another of his great wishes, beyond the motivation for a new victory: “I want to have a family. It is the biggest dream of my life. I have not yet achieved it because of my way of living. That is something that when I stop running, is where I will find my happiness.

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