Although Fernando Alonso has just two World titles, finishing runner-up on three occasions, he says he has been “lucky” to have spent his career fighting at the front.
In his 15th season racing in Formula 1, Alonso is facing the prospect of completing his career with just the two titles he already has.
He won the Drivers’ Championship with Renault in 2005 and again in 2006 but, despite moves to McLaren and Ferrari, failed to add a third.
He did, however, finish runner-up to Sebastian Vettel three times, losing out by four, three and 155 points respectively.
“I have been so lucky in my entire career to fight for championships,” Alonso told Formula1.com. “Yes, there have been more good opportunities for me, but for one reason or another it did not happen.”
Asked about the idea that he would have matched Juan Manuel Fangio’s five World titles had things played out differently, he said: “Yes probably – but my career path also could have ended in karting! So everything is perfect for me.
“Probably success is the most important thing of the enjoyment of being here – you are here to compete. Being on the podium, winning a race or even a championship: these are the moments of ultimate enjoyment.
“But then there is also the joy about other things that surround F1! The travelling that gave me the opportunity to visit countries I probably would have never seen in another life… I am happy with all the fantastic side effects the sport has given me!”
He added: “You change in any ways – not just as a driver! A person at 19 years old is completely different than at 35. That goes for any kind of relationship: family, friends, and the approach to the team, the working methods and of course the media.
“Everything changes – not because you want to have it changed in one direction, but because it is life that changes you! You cannot escape that – the Peter Pan story of not growing old is only a fairy tale!”
Alonso is not giving up on adding a third crown to his tally, hopeful that next season’s new regulations will not up the ante but also allow McLaren-Honda to close up on Mercedes.
“With the new regulations in place next year we will probably get the excitement back as the cars will be much more attractive – and much faster,” he added.
“Another championship is the ultimate target, and we are working hard on that project. That is still the target that Fernando wants to achieve!”