Fernando Alonso says he is viewing his departure from Formula 1 at the end of this season as a retirement from the category, but isn’t completely ruling out a return.
During the summer break, Alonso announced he will not race in F1 next year as he pursues other racing interests alongside a confirmed seat at Toyota for the rest of the WEC Super Season. Although he didn’t use the word retirement in the press release and hinted at a potential comeback, when asked if he’d consider coming back in future or if it’s goodbye, Alonso said he is not planning on a future return.
“Right now I’m thinking that it’s a goodbye but you know, life changes very quickly,” Alonso said. “Life also taught me in the past how things may change, in a couple of months time or in years’ time, as I said also in the press release when we announced the retirement, [the plan] is to leave the door open because I don’t have the crystal ball to know what’s going to happen in the future. As I said, for me it’s a bye-bye, but who knows in the future?”
Having previously suggested F1 is too predictable at present — with only three teams winning races in the past five years — Alonso admits part of his decision is due to the lack of competitiveness he has been experiencing in recent seasons.
“I think it definitely plays a part of it. If you are in one of those two teams [winning], you probably keep going even if you don’t enjoy or if you don’t enjoy the races or the amount of years that you’ve been doing the same thing, that’s for sure.
“But yeah, Formula 1 has been always a sport that’s dominated [by] one team or two teams and the package is way more important; but there’s been different seasons and different years that we had a little bit more freedom of strategy, of choices, of tires…
“Even if one team was clearly dominant that season and world champion at whatever part of the year, they didn’t win some races with heat, with cold, with wet, with inters — it provides some action. The same with the strategy: in 2004 I think I won zero grands prix, but I was on pole position, podiums, or whatever because we chose to run light fuel on Saturday, so gamble for the race, there’s always been a little bit of action.
“Maybe now it’s not the same. But it’s nothing to compare. All my comments are not to compare those seasons against these recent years, or other series compared to this series. Normally my words are taken to compare different seasons or different series and say that I’m wrong. Probably I’m wrong — it’s my decision, and I’m happy with that.”