Fernando Alonson said that he wanted to taste champagne again, in February this year. McLaren were optimistic that with the Renault power unit – as also used by their competitors Red Bull – they would be back on the podium. Nine months on and much has changed.
2018 was a poor season for McLaren. Alonso started off reasonably, with a fifth in Melbourne, and he stayed in the points for the first five races. However, the cars were off the pace and Alonso pointed out that 70% of the McLaren car work was focussed on 2019. McLaren were optimistic that with the Renault power unit – as also used by their competitors Red Bull – they would be back on the podium. Nine months on and much has changed. With only one proper upgrade, their season deteriorated, and by the time of the Belgian GP in Francorchamps – where Alonso crashed – his partner Stoffel Vandoorne said that it was difficult to get a worse weekend.
What’s next for Fernando Alonso?
– Formula 1 champion – check (twice)
– 24 Hours of Le Mans – check (in winning team with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima)
– Indy 500 – racing next May in a bid for the Triple crown
Alonso left McLaren and F1 after the Abu Dhabi GP. This race marked 17 seasons in the sport, with 97 podiums between 2003 and 2014. He won back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006 driving for Renault, ending the dominance of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher. At that time he was the youngest ever double world champion.
However, Alonso has not turned his back on F1. As the BBC recently reported https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/formula1/45191023/page/2, Alonso says he needs different challenges. Next season will be the first time out of F1 since 2002, so his feelings could change. He acknowledges that, saying that he’d been doing this for his whole life.
Will Alonso watch the racing from the sidelines? He would certainly be a welcome guest in the F1 hospitality bar edgeglobalevents.com/f1-paddock-club/. With long spells at Renault, McLaren and Ferrari, he has a lot of friends in the constructors, as well as among the other drivers. As Lewis Hamilton said after Abu Dhabi that Alonso had achieved incredible things before he got there and that the sport would miss him. As Lewis Hamilton said after Abu Dhabi that Alonso had achieved incredible things before he got there and that the sport would miss him.
Will Fernando Alonso get to taste F1 champagne again? Will he win the Indy 500, becoming only the second driver to complete the Triple Crown? As one of the most popular and charismatic drivers, we can’t wait to see.