Fernando Alonso made his return to Formula 1 with Alpine this season after a two-year break. The Spaniard had left at the end of 2018 visibly worn out after four unsuccessful and frustrating seasons with McLaren and had tried his hand at other disciplines, notably endurance racing where he won twice with Toyota in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also in the Indianapolis 500 and the Dakar.
The two-time world champion admits that he should have taken this break a few years earlier, but such a decision wasn’t easy to make.
“I have no regrets about my career, except maybe one,” said Alonso. “Maybe I should have left F1 earlier. It’s easy to say now, but I shouldn’t have waited until 2018.”
“I should have done it in 2015 or 2016, at least two years before, to try my hand at Dakar and endurance racing. I already had that in mind in 2015, but I needed time to take the step. Maybe too much.”
Alonso had notably left F1 with the image of a frustrated driver, particularly during the McLaren-Honda years marked by performance and reliability problems that hindered him from expressing his talent.
The Spaniard has a different image for his comeback this year, albeit in a car that is unable to challenge for the podium on a regular basis, but he is still active on other issues, particularly with regard to the decisions made by F1 track marshals.
“I have always tried to fight against injustice,” Alonso continued. “It’s not new, I was already doing it in the past. There’s always a lack of consistency depending on nationality, whether it’s penalties handed out or not following a rule.”
“I remember when I was fighting for the title against Red Bull in 2012, everyone knew they had a very flexible front wing and it took five or six races for it to finally be banned. And that year I was losing the title by three points.”