Fernando Alonso believes he will remain in Formula 1 for “a few more years” as he extends his total race start record and pursues a third world championship to add to the two he won in the mid-2000s.
Alonso is the oldest driver on the F1 grid, with more than 350 races under his credit. He recently began his 20th season in the sport, beginning a new chapter with the vastly improved Aston Martin team.
Alonso was asked during an interview with team sponsor Bang & Olufsen about his lengthy F1 career what the future may contain and how much longer he is likely to compete in the top tier beyond his current “multi-year” contract.
“I would love to know the answer as well,” Alonso began. “I think when I started in Formula 1, my idea was to be [here] for seven or eight years. Then I won the two championships and I thought I will race maybe one or two more years, then I will stop.
“Now I find myself with the longest career ever in Formula 1. I’m still fresh. I’m still motivated. I’m still enjoying every single day. I wake up in the morning and I’m happy of what I’m doing. There is a few more years, I think, for me. Hopefully, you know, with a title contender in the future.”
Given Aston Martin’s sudden surge up the order in 2023, I wouldn’t count out Alonso as a World Championship contender in the coming years. The Red Bull looks a little too dominant for the Aston Martin team to cause them any worries but Lawrence Stroll’s 5-year plan looks to be going as planned with the team now competing with the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari for “best of the rest”. The Spanish driver also managed to end his podium drought and scored on the podium in the last three races, an impressive feat for a driver and team who were in the bottom three last season.
With his last race victory coming at Ferrari in 2013 and his two championships coming at Renault in 2005 and 2006, does he believe that a third title could be on the horizon in his new environment?
“Well, that’s the aim, for sure,” he said. “But I think at the moment we have to keep the feet on the ground. The aim for the team is just to have a good season. They [were] struggling a lot in 2022, so I think we have to, let’s say, walk before [we] run.
“I think this 2023 campaign is just about getting better, getting to know the car better, start a new project from day one, and that’s where we are at the moment.
“Hopefully we have more podiums, hopefully we fight for race wins, but I think to fight for the championship, we need to set the team a little bit before doing that.”
Alonso was pushed by reporters whether or not he sees his chances of becoming a three-time world champion any time soon: “Always I believe it’s possible, that’s why I keep racing.
“Obviously, you know the challenge is big, you know that you need to overcome some difficulties, some top teams that are now on top of the sport, but I race every day and I train every day thinking that the third title is possible.”
Alonso added that he thinks his chances of a third likely, however, unlikely that he’ll reach the feats completed by both Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher with seven world championships. His career was unfortunately riddled with unreliability and cars that don’t match his ability; from Ferrari and McLaren to most recently Alpine.
“I think when you race for many years, obviously you start breaking records, but I think the only thing that matters is to win and to break the record of championships,” he commented.
“At the moment that’s probably unreachable, because seven of Michael and seven of Hamilton are out of, you know, the possibility, but that will be the aim ultimately.”