Cover Image for 2-time world champion Fernando Alonso reveals why he first left F1

2-time world champion Fernando Alonso reveals why he first left F1

Samriddhi Jaiswal
|Sun Aug 14 2022

Fernando Alonso has revealed why he decided to leave Formula 1 between 2019 and 2020 amid Sebastian Vettel’s retirement.

Fernando Alonso took a hiatus from F1 between 2019 and 2020 before returning to the sport with Alpine in the 2021 season. He had a frustrating stint with McLaren, so he went on to compete in various other categories of motorsport.

Following the news of Sebastian Vettel’s retirement, the two-time world champion was questioned about why he decided to leave the sport. Vettel cited spending time with family and environmental concerns as reasons for his decision.

Speaking about whether Vettel shared any of his reasons to walk away, Alonso said, “I stopped in 2018 because I had bigger challenges in my head.”

“I had the Le Mans, I had the IndyCar, I wanted to try cross country rally, so I [had] other challenges.”

Also Read: Former Aston Martin driver explains 2-time world champion’s decision

“F1 was not a happy place to be” – Fernando Alonso

Furthermore, the Spanish driver revealed that in 2018 or 2019 the possibilities in the paddock were not attractive.

“It was only one team winning; only [Valtteri] Bottas and [Lewis] Hamilton, they were fighting for each race and each pole position,” said Alonso.

“So it was, for me, not the place to be and not a happy place, so I decided to stop. I don’t know if that came to play into Sebastian’s decision as well, having a competitive or non-competitive car.”

The two-time world champion said that various factors influenced his return to F1. One of the reasons was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on other series.

“In [my] time away from Formula 1, we had the pandemic. All the other series, to be honest, were hit quite badly, in terms of the sponsors, manufacturers, things like that,” Alonso said.

“Formula 1 [was] still quite healthy, so I thought, at that moment, the biggest challenge was to come back in Formula 1 and try to do well.

“I move always by [my] own challenges, more than what I think in that moment of my career.”

Also Read: Lewis Hamilton sees Sebastian Vettel’s retirement as sign of an era coming to close

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