No podiums, but no retirement: Alonso

McLaren Honda F1 Team's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso attends a press conference at the Baku City Circuit, on June 16.
McLaren Honda F1 Team's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso attends a press conference at the Baku City Circuit, on June 16. PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA • Former world champion Fernando Alonso doubts he will make it onto the Formula One podium this season, after also enduring his lowest points tally last year, but he has no immediate plans to retire.

The Spaniard is 13th in this year's drivers' standings on 24 points, 168 behind leader and former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso, 34, picked up only 11 points last year, and, although he has already surpassed that this year, he is sceptical about his chances of getting a first podium appearance since 2014 and since he rejoined McLaren.

"It's very difficult for us to get a podium this season," he told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope yesterday. "In normal conditions we still wouldn't deserve a podium.

"I hope we improve next year but this is Formula One, anything can happen. We are still waiting for things to happen with this McLaren Honda project but we are on the way up."

Honda were McLaren's engine partners when they were dominant at the end of the 1980s and returned to the British team last year - the second year of the new V6 turbo hybrid era with Mercedes already dominant.

McLaren, the eight-time constructors' champions, have not won a race since 2012.

Despite another torrid campaign and a huge crash in the Australian Grand Prix in March, Alonso said he had no plans to retire.

"My future in Formula One will not depend on this car. Even in these last two difficult years I've been enjoying myself a lot," said the Spaniard, who won the world drivers' championship in 2005 and 2006.

"If the cars are as fun as they were in the past, I'll have no problem continuing. I'm aware that I'll never be 20 years old again but I have more experience and more knowledge now."

The Spaniard finished seventh in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix and is preparing for this weekend's German Grand Prix.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'No podiums, but no retirement: Alonso'. Print Edition | Subscribe