Still to announce his plans for 2019, other than another stab at the Indy500, Fernando Alonso hasn’t totally ruled out a return to F1 – sooner rather than later – should he find himself craving the sport while watching from his sofa.
“Right now it’s difficult to think about coming back but the door is not closed,” he replied, when asked if he might follow the example of Alain Prost and Niki Lauda in returning to the sport after retiring.
“The first reason is I don’t know how I will feel next year,” he admitted. “I’ve been doing this for my whole life. Maybe next year, by April or May, I am desperate, on the sofa, so you know, maybe I find a way to somehow come back.
“But it’s not the initial idea. It’s more about myself. If I come back it’s not for any particularly or the line or something that has to happen, it’s more how I feel in the middle of next year.”
Asked if expects to feel any special emotions this weekend, he said: “So far I think it’s a normal weekend. I think on Sunday it’s going to be different, when it gets a little bit more emotions. But right now, I landed like ten hours ago from Japan. I’ve been racing last weekend in Shanghai and I’m not probably into the mood yet of this final race. It feels OK right now. As I said, it’s going to be special, emotional, and hopefully a good one.”
Asked about his legacy, he replied: “I don’t know really. I think it’s difficult to say in the first person. I think I’ve been trying to do my best all the time here, fighting against anything or circumstance that may put some stress or put other people down. I was trying always to give my best and somehow working with the kids and the karting school, the museum, trying to do a lot of things with the fans and the young generation, trying to help them, if I can, with the knowledge I’ve had all these years and with facilities or something that I probably didn’t have at my time and if they have the dreams and the talent, try to help them.”
When asked how proud he is of his accomplishments not only in F1, but for Spain and his home region of Asturias, he was quick to respond.
“Definitely very proud,” he said. “I think you only realise with time, when you see how many people follow the sport now in Spain, in my region in Asturias, how many people travel to Oviedo to visit the museum, to have the first go in go-karts.
“A lot of people started following Formula 1 and not Formula 1, motorsports in general, in my country, which definitely was not a tradition. We were not broadcasting the races in 2001, 2002, I think it started in the middle of 2003. Something that is unthinkable now, when Formula 1 is the second or third sport in Spain.
“That’s something that I feel really proud of, and the same with some of the things I had in Spain, the Premio Principe de Asturias is probably the biggest thing I achieved, even more than any Formula 1 championship, because that kind of award is about changing people’s lives and introducing a lot of people into one sport. So, those kinds of things are much bigger than any trophy.”
The first hint of sadness came when the Spaniard was asked what he will miss most about F1.
“I think driving the cars,” he said. “The cars are something special. It doesn’t matter if you’re fourteenth, fifth or fighting for victory. Obviously if you can be on the podium and win, definitely it’s an extra celebration and joy – but when you go out of there for qualifying, or even tomorrow for free practice, and you’re drive these cars, they are very special, y’know?
“The amount of technology behind these cars would be difficult to replicate in any other series – but on the other side there are negative aspects of Formula One,” he continued, “especially if you are 18 years here. You dedicate your entire life to Formula One. You have no friends, no family, no free time, no privacy, no wife, no kids, no nothing. It’s just full dedication if you want to succeed. So, I think, I have other priorities right now.”