Twenty years after making his F1 debut with Minardi, the competitive fire is still raging within Fernando Alonso, as the two-time champion said losing – whether that be in F1 or another sport – still turns him into a “volcano”.
The Spaniard returned to F1 in 2021 to compete with Alpine, after spending two seasons away from the championship to compete at Le Mans, in the Dakar Rally and IndyCar. This season he’s consistently scored points and appeared – perhaps – less fiery than in his younger years. However, in a recent interview with SoyMotor.com, Alonso has claimed he still can’t handle losing – and would find it even more difficult if he were racing for a championship-contending side like Mercedes or Red Bull.
Asked if losing now is easier to handle than it was in the past, Alonso replied: “It’s a good question. I’ve asked myself that, but I think that no, I still can’t take it. But what happens is that at this moment I am not in a position to finish second or in a position to fight.
“If I were in Mercedes or Red Bull and the one winning was the other team, I would be a volcano,” he added. “But if you are not in that position, you’ve got different goals in mind, more realistic goals for each weekend.”
After clinching a season-best P4 finish for Alpine in Hungary – while helping team mate Esteban Ocon to a maiden victory – complete with a stunning battle with former rival Lewis Hamilton (below), the Spaniard explained what his “realistic goals” are this season.
“Maybe it is to finish eighth, maybe it is to make it to Q3… You’ve got these little goals. But whenever I am not in Formula 1 and I am doing any other activity, the volcano is still there, even if it’s playing tennis or ping-pong. It doesn’t change,” he said.
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Now 40 years-old, Alonso is expected to continue on in 2022 alongside Ocon – and he shrugged off questions over his longevity in F1, adding that enjoyment is tantamount to the length of his latest tenure in the championship.
“I am enjoying it. I am having fun and I am also enjoying the activities that happen away from the track, which is something that I would have never thought,” he said.
With the competitive fire still raging, when would Alonso decide to call time on F1?
“Until I feel it, as long as I am having fun and being competitive,” replied the champion.