“You look at drivers like Kimi, Jenson or Felipe and it seems like they could carry on forever, but I probably won’t be like them,” are the words of Fernando Alonso earlier this week after admitting that he is approaching the end of his F1 career.
Alonso is a shrewd man and known to make hints or comments whether it be on team radio or directly to the press. It’s clear that he’s been preparing his devoted fan base to the inevitable reality that McLaren Honda won’t be the team he needs them to be. More than once he’s requested ‘to retire’ from a race whilst running just outside the top ten and who’d have bet Fernando of even just a few years ago wouldn’t be publicly denouncing his failing team for not delivering by now. Instead we have a quiet resignation of the situation with unconvincing post race interviews for future competitiveness.
“When the time comes, I will leave Formula One,” he said in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe. “When you’re not fast enough, when you no longer enjoy it and when you cannot meet the demands, you know that it is time to leave.
“I feel right now as if I’m approaching the end of my dream.”
The Spanish samurai explained that it would be fitting if he could retire with McLaren.
“When I was a little boy, my father built me a kart with a design inspired by McLaren-Honda and now I am a driver for McLaren-Honda,” he said. “I feel like I can come full circle in a romantic way.”
In the past he’s often expressed a desire to race Le Mans 24 hour along with his friend and fellow racer Mark Webber, and again the FIA WEC blue ribband event was mentioned saying “The life of a Grand Prix driver is very demanding.”
“When I retire from the sport I think I’ll start by enjoying the return to a more normal life. I’m sure I’ll miss competing and the adrenaline rush.
“It’s likely I’ll keep racing in other categories, but one which takes up less time. Le Mans would be perfect, as you don’t have to be away for the full year.”