Alonso made a surprise return to the cockpit of an F1 car in Bahrain on Monday, just 17 hours on from his farewell in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as part of a promotional day swapping cars with seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.
The two-time F1 champion drove a 2013 Mercedes-powered McLaren after a last-minute request and compared the experience to the current sound of the V6 turbo-hybrids, introduced in 2014.
“It was not planned to be honest,” said Alonso. “I was supposed to only drive the other car but it made sense if I was doing the installation lap just to make sure the car was feeling OK.
“I found myself in the cockpit at 11am this morning after retiring yesterday.
“It was a lot of fun even if from the inside of the car the noise is not so different compared to the cars we are driving now.
“But even from the outside it was again something very, very special.
“So, we are missing a lot of action because of the sound right now.”
The V6 turbo-hybrids received a lot of criticism upon their introduction.
Sebastian Vettel called the engine “s**t”, mirroring then-F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone’s own negative verdict on the quieter noise.
F1 has constantly pushed to improve the experience for fans, with measures such as the exhaust microphone to impact how the cars sound on television.
While Alonso acknowledged that F1 is missing something at the moment because of the sound, he insisted he was walking away with “a smile” and would “enjoy” F1 from the outside.
“There are things that I will miss from Formula 1, things that I will not miss, and I will try to take the positives,” said the Spaniard.
“It’s going to be a good memory. The whole package in Formula 1 was a fantastic journey.
“From a young age until now fighting always in any circumstance, in any car, and I think achieving a lot of success that I never expected.
“I will come back maybe one day as a tourist, as a commentator maybe, and enjoy Formula 1 in a different way.”
Photo by: Steven Tee / LAT Images