Fernando Alonso insists the main reason he has opted not to race in Formula 1 in 2019 is due to the predictable nature of the championship rather than McLaren’s recent struggles.
Alonso was the youngest double world champion at the time of his second title in 2006, but has yet to add to his tally and has not won a race in over five years. His most recent podium came at the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix during his final season with Ferrari and he has raced for McLaren since, where three poor years with Honda have been followed by another disappointing season under Renault power. But the Spaniard insists that results did not drive his decision to leave the sport.
“I have other, bigger challenges than those Formula 1 can offer right now,” Alonso is quoted as saying by Crash.net at Silverstone this weekend. “It’s a sport or a series that definitely has some very positive things I’ve been enjoying for 17 years or 18 years of my life. I think I achieved much more than what I dreamed when I started in 2001, and right now, the action on-track is not [what] I dreamed of when I joined Formula 1 when I was in different series, [or] that I experienced in other years.
“Most of my announcement [was viewed as] sadness or a sad moment, or frustration over the last couple of years for the lack of results. I’ve been racing for 18 years in Formula 1, I’ve won two [titles] – so arguably, 16 years of my life, I was frustrated. It was not the case, and it’s not the case now.
“I stopped because the action on-track, in my opinion, is very poor. In fact, what we talk about more in Formula 1 is off-track. We talk about polemics, we talk about radio messages, we talk about all these things.
“When we talk so many times about these things, it’s a bad sign. It’s because the on-track action was very poor that weekend. That’s what I feel in Formula 1 now, and I think there are other series that maybe offer better action, more joy, and I think more happiness.”
Alonso, who is racing for Toyota at Silverstone in the World Endurance Championship this weekend, said he believes F1 has also become too predictable.
“When I was in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, I was not winning any single race in those years. It was difficult to predict what could happen now in Spa or Monza. Now we can write down what is going to happen at Spa or Monza.
“We can put the first 15 positions, with maybe one or two mistakes. How predictable everything became is tough. We came to Barcelona, we test the first day in winter testing, and you know what you will do until November in Abu Dhabi.”