Fernando Alonso lifts lid on his cunning media tactics to find F1 ‘shortcut’

Thomas Maher
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso walks through the pitlane at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso has said he prefers to get complaints out into the open with the media, preferring it as a tactic to a quiet word in the ear.

The two-time F1 World Champion is well-known for his willingness to complain about things he finds are lacking in Formula 1, and has explained his logic for doing so.

Fernando Alonso: Doing these things can ‘find a shortcut’

Alonso has no quibbles about going to the media to complain about things in F1, with recent examples being how he felt singled out for punishments based on his nationality, as well as finding the quality of stewarding in F1 lacking.

In Miami, Alonso made comments referring to an incident in which Lewis Hamilton was investigated – and later cleared – for allegedly causing a collision – this coming shortly after Alonso had picked up penalties for incidents with George Russell and Carlos Sainz in Australia and China, respectively.

“Let’s see what they [the stewards] decide, I guess they won’t decide anything because he’s not Spanish,” he told DAZN.

Doubling down on how he felt “nationality matters” to the stewards, Alonso said he wanted to discuss the matter with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

“I need to make sure that there is not anything wrong with my nationality or anything that can influence any decision – not only for me, also for the future generation of Spanish drivers that need to be protected,” he said.

Speaking to the UK’s The Times, Alonso has revealed that he prefers his approach of being forthright in airing his grievances straight to the media rather than approaching the powers that be initially.

“If you’re vocal about things you get to that point quicker,” he said.

“[Rather] than just talking five minutes with the person in charge because they are afraid of negativity [in the media]. Sometimes you use these things to [find a] shortcut.”

Following a meeting with Ben Sulayem, Alonso appeared placated as he explained: “I spoke with him and he’s always on board on every opinion that the drivers have.

“He knows that we are the ones driving the cars and that we can have some suggestions on things.

“There are a couple of points that we need to address as a sport. But he has always listened to us. Let’s see if we make F1 a better sport and a little bit more consistent.”

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As the eldest statesman of F1 and having signed a new contract extension with Aston Martin, Alonso has spoken about the potential end of his career – having initially walked away to take a sabbatical of unknown duration back at the end of 2018.

The Spaniard explained that he has signed several contracts with the intent of them being his last in the sport, and said the 24-race calendar now in place – and the resulting demands on the drivers – means having to come to terms with a strange work/life balance.

“It’s something strange because we are privileged people, only 20 in the world driving Formula 1 cars,” he said.

“So it’s logical that you think you will love to do this as long as you are fast and you are happy but, at the same time, it’s taking away everything in your life that makes you happy. Some adjustments will be done, with my family coming to more races and this type of thing, to try and have fewer downsides.”

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