Alonso still loved Formula 1 even when he left in 2018

Fernando Alonso arrives at Imola. April 2021

Alpine driver Fernando Alonso arrives at Imola. April 2021

Fernando Alonso has said just because he left Formula 1 in 2018, it does not mean he ever fell out of love with the sport.

Alonso decided to call it a day at the end of the 2018 campaign after another year stuck in the midfield battle with McLaren, then powered by Renault engines after a miserable spell with Honda.

The two-time World Champion did say in the lead-up to his exit and after that he had grown disillusioned with Formula 1, with opportunities for success ranging from very slim to none.

But Alonso’s disillusion did not go as far as falling out of love completely with the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’.

“It was not that I was not in love with Formula 1, but I felt that I was losing time in my career in that moment in Formula 1,” he said on the Beyond The Grid podcast.

“I didn’t have the chance to fight for wins, to fight for podiums, but I felt that I have this possibility and this appealing challenge of trying something different.

“So I thought that it was the right time in 2018, or even before that. If I look back at my career, maybe 2015 or ’16 was even better.

“You don’t have the crystal ball and you know what is going to happen in ’17 or ’18, so you still always hope that you get a chance to fight for bigger things.

“But I was convinced that, in ’18, it was the right moment to try something different. Even if I still love Formula 1, I had other things in my head at that time.”


Alonso said his head was already filling up with ideas on what other motorsport challenges he wanted to try and leaving Formula 1 was all about trying to scratch that itch.

“I think I needed different challenges at that time in my career,” he revealed.

“I was tempted by Le Mans, I did the Indy 500 in 2017 one year before I stopped.

“I had all these challenges in my head about competing in different categories, and challenging myself against some other top drivers in other disciplines in motorsport – and challenge myself if I could do well in different types of motorsport.”

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