This is an interview that the German Auto und Motorsport had with Fernando Alonso. I will do nothing more than translating (and paraphrasing a bit), in order to share it with you.
AMuS: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are fighting for the championship until the last race. Don’t you miss this feeling?
Alonso: Of course. I’m full of hope that it will be me again, who’s able to do so. But I don’t want to complain, I’ve been lucky enough to be in that position five times already. It is a special feeling, with a lot of pressure and emotions of a certain kind. A lot of my colleagues have enormous talents, but some of them never made it to Formula One. Others did but never scored a podium, never won or got a pole position. They never had the feeling of doing a press conference as a winner. Or as a pole sitter. All of them missed out on the biggest feeling of them all. They missed out on the chance of getting to the ultimate goal. I can only be grateful to have made it so far!
AMuS: Whom do you consider to be your biggest rival in your battles for the title?
Alonso: Michael Schumacher. Without a doubt! He was special. He had the most talent of them all. Everyone of us respects him, as the legend that he is. For my generation he was the dominator of Formula One. If you’re able to, one day, drive against him. Fight him. It’s only then that you realise… just how immense he was. He took every chance, and maximised it. He gave his all, all the time. 2006 is still fresh in my memory, if the Bridgestones were better: he won. If the Michelins were better: he was up there again. Somehow he always managed to get this nutcase lap out of his car in qualifying. Even when you had the perfect weekend and you hoped to make up some points on him, he still managed to come in third or fourth. Only he could do that.
AMuS: So can you understand, when he made his comeback, he struggled for three years in the same way like you’re doing now?
Alonso: That only makes his legacy bigger. Everybody understood that when a seven times world champion didn’t get the results people hoped for it had to be down to the car. But all of us have these responsibilities too, there are big companies behind us. They’re busy, 24/7, with nothing else then to make the car better. In the windtunnel, on a test rig, behind computers. That’s why you go to every new race with new hope, new motivations. Trying to get to the limit of the car, which lies a bit further than the last time out.
AMuS: Can Honda make the difference?
Alonso: Mercedes will be hard to beat, but not just for us. For anyone. But I believe we can come close enough to them to be able to fight again. I’m 100% sure Honda will be able to give us performance that we need. On the aerodynamics side of it all there are bigger question marks. It’s just as easy to have bad luck as it is to have good luck on that aspect of the car. Who knows, at this moment, which car philosophy will push through? Who finds a loophole in the rules? And who doesn’t find that same loophole? It is very likely that some decide to go left and others choose to go right, and after four races you realise you took a wrong turn.
AMuS: How many times, in the last two year, did you think you made a wrong decision to go back to McLaren? And how many times did you think it was the right thing to do?
Alonso: Every day I think it was the right decision. I’m happy! I’m driving for the best team of my career. The sheer level of knowledge, attention for details, analysis and organisation is like I never seen before in any other team. The philosophy in approach to the car is completely different to all the other teams. Nowhere else do they listen this much to the driver. The only thing we lack at the moment is a fast car. I served five years at Ferrari, and if I had to do two more there, I would be a sad, frustrated person. When I was with them I fought, at least, twice for a title. And today I’m sixth instead of second. I had my good years at Ferrari, but I feel that I said my goodbyes at the right moment.
AMuS: Will the new rules work out for F1?
Alonso: I have high hopes for that. All the drivers, team bosses, race organisers and TV companies agreed that change had to come. That’s why it’s good that someone listened. And furthermore the road taken is a good one, more show, spectacular cars, more entertainment.
AMuS: Will the driver, in 2017, finally make the difference again?
Alonso: Without a doubt it will be tougher. We’ll have to train harder, because when you get tired, you make mistakes, you make the wrong decisions, and we all know that can make the difference between winning and losing. This year we were five seconds per lap faster in Malaysia just because of a new layer of asphalt. It was undoubtedly the physically most demanding race of this year. In 2017 all the races will be this way.
Original text by Auto und Motorsport
Picture by McLaren F1