Fernando Alonso says he is “ready to deliver something special” when he joins Aston Martin next season.
Alonso, who retired from his final race with Alpine on Sunday, hopes his status as F1’s most experienced driver ever can guide his new team to good results.
Alonso said: “I believe when I can make differences when it comes to crucial moments of the races or experiences.
“We all have high talent driving cars fast; it is more about the head and how you control a few things.”
The 41-year-old Spaniard says he ended his two years at Alpine having returned to the best form of his career, following his two years out of F1 in 2019 and 2020 racing in other categories.
“The last few races [of the season], like Mexico or Austin or Brazil, I think I am closer to the level of 2012 or 2010 or whatever than last year when I was not in control of everything,” Alonso said.
“Last year I was not 100% confident with the car or my comeback. It was OK, the season, but this year I am much more up to speed and much more proud of how it has been.”
Ending his Alpine career with a retirement in Abu Dhabi was a somewhat appropriate conclusion to a season dogged by poor reliability, costing him in the region of 50-60 points and denying him the chance of finishing the championship as the leading driver outside the top three teams.
He said his position in the championship this year had “zero” relevance to him.
“It matters what I feel inside,” he said. And even if I score good points and finish OK in the standings, I maybe didn’t have the best feeling. This year even if don’t score any points I know I am switching to next year and a new project knowing I am 100% into the sport again.”
Alonso conducts his first test for Aston Martin in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, as he joins from Alpine on a new contract that will last at least two years.
And he believes he can bring success to a team that finished seventh in this year’s constructors’ championship.
“I only continue because I believe we will have a chance,” Alonso said. “Next year to close the gap is unrealistic, but we need to put the baseline for future cars and to work better than the people around us.
“This is a very competitive environment and to become a champion you need to deliver something special. I am ready to deliver something special from my side and I expect the same from them.”
Alonso last won a race in 2013 and clinched the second of his two titles in 2006. But he said he continues to believe he can climb to the top of the sport again.
“Ultimately winning the championship is what motivates me every day so [I am] still thinking the third Fernando Alonso ‘ready to deliver something special’ at Aston Martin will be possible one day,” he said.
“Maybe not next year, but who knows in the future. And now with this project of Aston Martin there are other things appealing to me – to try to build the team not from scratch but after this year they are hoping [to be] much better in the next few seasons.
“They have a lot of new people in the team, great talent, new facilities so it seems I join in this moment where we can join something together and become world champion one day.
“I don’t know if I will be driving that year in the car but if not I hope I will still be in the organisation somehow and still be proud of that championship.”
Alonso said he expected to continue in F1 for at least “two to three years”.
“I will take it year by year,” Alonso said. “Last season [I was] maybe not 100%. If I do a few seasons like last year, even if I perform OK from the outside, but I don’t feel happy with myself, maybe I stop.
“And [if I drive like I did] this year for example, that I feel very proud of, I will continue whatever the results are next year because I know that whatever are the results I can give to the team.”
But he said he had had to adapt his preparation for F1 as he has got older.
“I have to change many things because the moment of my career now, the physical aspects, I have to change a few of my training routines, my travelling, events,” Alonso said.
“F1 is very demanding on energy, off-track as well. So I have to maybe be more efficient in many things I do in the weekends or the weeks. On the physical aspect, I have to do much more than what I used to because I am not 20 any more.”
Source : ESPN.com