Alonso 5th, says F1 not 'as exciting' as before

BUDAPEST • Fernando Alonso yesterday gave the troubled McLaren Honda team reason to smile after delivering the team's best result of the year in finishing fifth at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Just a day earlier, the despondent Spaniard had admitted that he was losing interest in Formula One and considering a switch to an alternative racing series.

The revelation came hours after he had to push his recalcitrant machine uphill towards the pits in searing heat during qualifying.

"It was more fun before but I don't think it is (at present) because we have more sensors or more information now," said the two-time world champion, explaining why contemporary F1 is no longer as special for him as it once was.

"Before, we had some freedom in terms of testing and in terms of improving the car as well.

"You (could then) find your car that is not competitive in the first quarter of the season and then you have some solutions and maybe you end up in a competitive way."

The 33-year-old has been suffering with the beleaguered McLaren-Honda team all season after leaving Ferrari last year.

After missing the season-opening race in Australia to recover from a concussion sustained in preseason testing, he was forced to retire from five of eight races.

Before yesterday's race, his best finish was 10th. But, despite starting from 15th spot on the grid, he finished in the points at the Hungaroring circuit.

Alonso insisted on Saturday that he still retained his enthusiasm for his current project. However, it remains to be seen if he will remain in F1 for long, with his McLaren-Honda contract expiring in 2017.

"Right now, there is huge motivation and a fantastic project that I am in right now with McLaren-Honda," he said.

"My first go-kart was a McLaren-Honda replica and I am in a real McLaren-Honda, so I am enjoying this process of getting competitive starting from zero.

"But with no testing, with these tyres, with these limitations, with the calendar for example next year (provisionally 21 races), there is the temptation of other categories."

Alonso has not tasted victory in a race since 2013.

"I love motorsport, all the categories," he added.

"But it is true that F1 is not exactly the same, or as exciting, as it was in the past - at least to me.

"Now, we have our hands tied for the season. So, when we take the car to Barcelona, or Jerez, for the first test, it is a coin in the air - and, if it is competitive, you will have a good season.

"And, if it is not competitive, you will have a bad season."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2015, with the headline 'Alonso 5th, says F1 not 'as exciting' as before'. Print Edition | Subscribe