Fernando Alonso reveals surprise plan to quit F1 over a decade ago

Jamie Woodhouse
Victor Fernando Alonso waves from his Renault. Italy, April 2005.

Fernando Alonso waves from his Renault after taking the win at Imola. Italy, April 2005.

Still a Formula 1 driver in his early 40s, Fernando Alonso actually originally planned to retire a few years after winning his two World titles with Renault at most.

Back in 2005 Alonso pulled off the ultimate achievement of that time in Formula 1, ending the dominant streak of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher.

Up until that point, Schumacher’s Ferrari team had won six Constructors’ titles in succession, while Schumacher had been on a run of five Drivers’ titles in a row.

But the rise of Alonso saw him become World Champion for the first time in 2005 as a Renault driver, the Spaniard backing that up with another title success in 2006.

Skip forward to F1 2023 and Alonso is still going strong, seemingly as great as he has ever been having featured on all three podiums so far after swapping Alpine, the team formerly known as Renault, for Aston Martin.

The Spaniard’s decision to return to the series in 2021 after a two-season sabbatical now at last looks to be paying off, but if Alonso had followed his original plan, then he would have headed for Formula 1’s exit door long before he went on that temporary leave.

In a Bang & Olufsen interview, Alonso revealed that after his title successes with Renault, he had only intended on doing another year or two before leaving Formula 1.

“I think when I started in Formula 1, my idea was to be here for seven or eight years,” he revealed. “And then I won the two championships and I thought I will race maybe one or two more years and then I will stop, that was my idea.

“And now I find myself with the longest career ever in Formula 1.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

Fernando Alonso names his greatest ever rival over storied F1 career

Five F1 2023 predictions that already look stupid: Ferrari, Fernando Alonso and more

Sebastian Vettel on Aston Martin replacement Fernando Alonso and life after F1

And yet despite having raced on in Formula 1 for far longer than he originally intended, Alonso said that now at the age of 41, he still feels “fresh” and “happy” with what he is doing, so now he does not see himself stepping away from the series within the next few years.

He also retains hope of adding that very elusive third World title to his CV.

“I’m still fresh, I’m still motivated, I’m still enjoying every single day,” he declared. “I wake up in the morning and I’m happy of what I’m doing.

“So yeah, there is a few more years I think for me and hopefully, with a title contender in the future.”