Fernando Alonso opens the door to a return to Formula 1, or so claims the Spanish former F1 driver – the self-confessed ‘Spanish Samurai’, ex Ferrari and Renault number 1 driver*
Alonso does not rule out a possible return to Formula 1 in the near future, explaining that he has been able to take a break during the past year, explore other motorsport series and gain a bit of perspective on life away from the F1 paddock bubble.
“I don’t see a return to Formula One impossible” is probably the most hopeful sign Alonso fans will get to hear as we enter the last period of 2019.
*arguably, both occasions at McLaren were not conducive to number 1 status, nor was Alonso’s time at Minardi during his rookie season.
Will Fernando Alonso be back in Formula 1?
Allegedly tired of the way F1 had become, including the Mercedes’ domination of recent years, the Spanish driver decided to withdraw from Formula One at the end of the 2018 season in order to relax and have fun outside F1. The truth of the matter was that clearly running in the midfield was not part of the 2-time World Champion’s plan during his latter years in F1.
In recent weeks, many statements, including those of his manager Flavio Briatore, have suggested that Fernando Alonso could make his comeback under certain conditions, and the Spaniard himself has been keen to clarify this situation.
“Alonso (returning)? I spoke to him about it,” claimed Briatore on Italian radio Rai Gr Parlamento recently.
“Fernando will return only if he has a seat at Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull, otherwise it makes no sense.”
When asked if a return to Ferrari for Alonso is a possibility given the way they parted company four years ago, Briatore answered:
“Everything is possible if they want to win.”
Meanwhile, in an interview with Spanish GQ magazine, Fernando Alonso told us about a possible comeback in Formula 1. And the Spaniard believes that nothing is impossible in the near future:
“I know that every year that passes can make my return more difficult because I am getting older.
“But I don’t see a return to Formula One as impossible. I had time to breathe, I rested my head and I can come back with a more relaxed mind and have fun, which has been rather difficult in recent years,” said the ‘Spanish Samurai’.
Obviously time is not on Alonso’s side, and being realistic, a sensible fan would not be putting much money down on a comeback now, one year on from his F1 ‘sabatical’.
The Spaniard is another year older, and these days an entire year away from the paddock really is a lifetime. The former ‘great’, and arguably one of the greatest ever or so some claim, is certainly becoming less and less relevant in the minds of Formula 1 teams as time passes on.
When thinking of other ‘greats’ of Formula 1, one has to obviously think of the German and current record holder in wins and world titles, Michael Schumacher.
If a part of Michael Schumacher’s success was his ability to mould a stellar team around him then a part of Fernando Alonso’s failure to return the same kind of dividend on a talent just as rich might be explained by the Spaniard’s deficiencies outside the cockpit.
Alonso was just as political as Schumacher but in critical moments allowed emotion to overpower reason, with ruinous consequences for his career.
The acrimonious leaving of both McLaren and then Ferrari (to return to McLaren) has often been seen as a real weakness when rating Alonso’s F1 career. Moving teams at the wrong time, and bringing chaos to a team by employing self-interest tactics that destablised the unity of the teams he raced for. More often than not, leaving a team under a cloud.
Former team boss and Alonso manager Briatore strongly disagrees with this notion, and is quoted as saying:
“Fernando is not only a good driver but a true team man. McLaren and Honda just didn’t work together, they are things that happen [in F1] ”
Alonso on Vettel at the end of the 2013 season
Perhaps an under-utilised ‘yard-stick’ for Alonso would be British former F1 Champion Jenson Button. The 2009 Champion recently described Fernando Alonso as his best all-round teammate but also had weaknesses.
“I don’t know what ‘best teammate’ means really,” he admitted on F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
“Fastest teammate would be Lewis and teammate that was strong in every area would be Fernando.
“They all had weaknesses, as I had weaknesses, but they were both drivers that were remembered for their extreme talent and for their championships,” concludes Button.
So will we see Fernando Alonso back in F1 for next year? I wouldn’t put your house on it.