It’s not particularly surprising, but Fernando Alonso has admitted he misses being part of Formula 1 championship fights.
When you’ve had two seasons away from the podium, scrapping in the midfield, you’re going to miss the old days of title fights and victories.
So, it’s not all that shocking to learn that Alonso misses being part of F1 title fights. But, it is refreshing to hear him talking openly about it.
We’ve heard a lot of positivity from McLaren’s drivers over the last two years despite the Honda power unit being unreliable and down on power (although this improved throughout 2016).
But, Alonso does miss the days of title fights and scraps for championship glory, following his 2005/2006 triumphs with Renault.
He was then in the hunt for the 2007 championship with McLaren and narrowly missed out on adding to his two world titles in 2010 and 2012 with Ferrari.
Since his title wins he’s finished runner-up three times, but since moving from Ferrari to McLaren he’s struggled to get out of the middle ground in the standings.
Here’s what he is quoted saying by Autosport:
“I’ve been lucky enough to experience that feeling five times. You train, you do the simulator, you go to the factory, you do events, you do media, you do whatever you do to be competitive on Sundays and fight for the title.
“From the last four years I miss this feeling of arriving with possibilities. But on the other hand I feel extremely lucky to have been able to feel that pressure and those emotions already five times, winning two, because there are many colleagues that have huge talent that never even have the chance to race in Formula 1.
“Some of them appear in Formula 1 but never have the chance to experience the podium, the press conference for the top three, never experience the feeling of starting in pole position, or winning one grand prix and they are very, very talented. So, of course, I feel very lucky and I miss it.”
He admitted his 2006 title battle against Michael Schumacher was his toughest, because even when Michelin had the advantage “he was there” and “always delivering something extra”.
Going over the McLaren frustrations in more detail, he said:
“McLaren is the second-best team in history in Formula 1 and when you are fighting for Q1, there is something that is not normal. Everybody in the team feels this pressure, these expectations that we are not able to meet yet. This frustrates all of us.
“Second is the personal frustration of not being able to fight for podiums, for victories and sometimes not even delivering what you are able to do because after 10 laps there are some problems so you need to de-tune a little bit the engine, batteries or something.
“Maybe a Sauber comes, they overtake you and everyone cheers a fantastic overtake but we have maybe 100 horsepower less. It’s not that you forgot to drive, it’s just there are situations that are out of our control.”
Who knows, Nando. Maybe McLaren will be back on top with the new rules in 2017. Let’s wait and see…