Fernando Alonso: F1 races ‘more emotional’ since announcing retirement

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The 37-year-old Spaniard announced in August he was leaving F1 after 17 years in the sport.

And with the clock ticking to the season’s last race in Abu Dhabi on 25 November, Alonso is trying to savor every moment.

“I’ve found myself recording the parade laps in the last couple of races with my phone,” the double world champion tells CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies.

“I’ve never done that in my life, but now it’s like I want to record everything.”

“I want to have that last memory of each race.”

Alonso won two world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and has amassed 32 wins, 22 pole positions and 97 podiums so far in his illustrious career.

Letting go of the sport is proving difficult.

“From August, when I decided to announce the retirement, every single race has been a little more emotional than normal,” he says.

“Every driver’s parade, every fan session has been a little bit different … it gets even more difficult.”

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Fernando Alonso on the podium of Formula One's Malaysian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso made his F1 debut for Minardi in 2001 before joining Renault as a test driver in 2002.

The Spaniard’s 2005 title ended Michael Schumacher’s five-year reign and made him then the youngest world champion in F1 history at the age of 24 years and 59 days. He retained his title the following year.

Alonso endured a tumultuous and often acrimonious season alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007 before a brief return to Renault followed by a four-year stint with Ferrari from 2010. He joined McLaren in 2015.

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Alonso’s focus is now on capturing motor sport’s fabled “Triple Crown” of victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans race and the Indianapolis 500.

He’s won in Monaco in both 2006 and 2007, while he was part of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s victorious team at Le Mans earlier this year. An attempt to win the 2017 Indy 500 finished with just 21 of the 200 laps remaining.

“I achieved much more than what I dreamed of when I started,” says Alonso. “I think it’s the right time now because there are some other challenges out of Formula One that I’m very, very interested in now.

“My idea is to win all the iconic motor sport races in the world.”

‘Everything in life is a competition’

Indeed, winning is the thing Alonso loves more than anything.

“Winning is everything,” he says.

“Not only (in) sport, but in life. In life, it’s winning — when I go to the supermarket and I go with a friend, I try to get through the door first.

“Things like that, everything in life is a competition for me.”

Alonso won his last F1 grand prix in Spain while driving for Ferrari in 2013, but despite a lack of success with McLaren he says the team is on the right track.

“I still believe that McLaren is one of the best teams in history of the sport, and they will get better eventually in a couple of years time,” he says.

He added: “I miss winning. I miss being on the podium.”

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Alonso poses with fans for selfies before the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix in 2017.

For now, though, Alonso wants to concentrate on coming up with a new schedule and getting some rest.

“I want to live a normal life that I never had the opportunity to do for many years,” he says.

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“But, I am a guy that normally wants to program everything in advance, so I don’t want to wait too long until I know the 2019 plans.”

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