Fernando Alonso quit Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season in order to explore other forms of motor racing and take another swipe at winning motorsport’s fabled “Triple Crown”. The Spaniard took one step closer as he won the LeMans 24-hours race on two occasions during his stint with the Toyota Racing Team in the world Endurance Championships (WEC).
The 2-time F1 Drivers’ champion has not closed the door on a future return and this has seen his name constantly linked with a drive with teams that are struggling with their drivers. Alonso quit the sport as he was unhappy driving for a McLaren team that had no chance of winning, but the Woking-based team’s fortunes have improved this season and they are currently the best of the rest behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
Alonso’s name again cropped up during the post-race press conference at the Hungary Grand Prix when the top three finishers – Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel – were asked if they would welcome Alonso’s return to the sport, to which all three responded positively. The Spaniard, however, is surprised the number of times his name crops up with regard to a potential comeback.
The former Renault and Ferrari driver has maintained that he has no interest in returning to the pinnacle of single-seater racing anytime soon but being one of the top drivers around, he is constantly linked with a seat.
“I’ve been a little surprised by how many people have talked about it recently,” Alonso said during an online chat with Spanish media, as quoted on GP Fans. “I had the best first half of the season possible. I won a world championship, Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans. If one day I want to come back, you will know it.”
Alonso also defended speculation that he was a “prickly” character to deal with within the team. He pointed to having two stints with two different teams as proof that he maintains a cordial and positive work environment and believes he should publicize it more in the future.
“It’s always the opposite message that people who worked with me gave, but maybe I didn’t sell that message well,” he said. “I give everything for any team I drive for, every lap, every day. The best proof is that I drove for Renault and came back to them; I drove for McLaren and came back to them.”
Red Bull Racing, meanwhile, ruled out the possibility of signing the double F1 and now the WEC world champion after it became clear that Pierre Gasly could not keep up with teammate Max Verstappen. The Austrian-licensed team instead chose to promote Alex Albon from their junior F1 team Toro Rosso.
Alonso, however, still has a chance of racing in IndyCar on a full-time basis after the team’s CEO Zak Brown made it clear that the door will always be open for the Spaniard after McLaren confirmed their entry on a full-time basis after a tie up with Schmidt Peterson Motorsport.