Fernando Alonso, the two-time world champion has said he considered quitting Formula 1 at the end of last season.
The Spaniard pondered switching full-time to IndyCar or endurance racing, in the wake of three years of poor results with struggling McLaren. He said: “I felt it was not the time for me to step out – not after these results, not with this feeling. I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life and I’d have this bad taste for the rest of my racing career.”
The 36-year-old, who was talking in an interview published in the latest F1 Racing magazine, re-signed for McLaren. Alonso has also committed to the 2018-19 season with Toyota in the World Endurance Championship, including two shots at winning Le Mans.
He said: “Definitely I still want to succeed. There is unfinished business for me and McLaren together. I hadn’t felt it for a while but now I feel i could do a very good season if we have a good package this year because I am sure I will be able to put in the ‘extra’ that I have put in all my career,” he said.
“That has been the most difficult thing to give to the team over the past three years: the commitment, the work, simulator feedback. That’s something that comes naturally to a racer but to give extra when you’re in Mexico and you have a power-unit penalty and starting last because of a 35-place engine penalty, things like the extra two-10ths or moves in the race – or maybe a magic start – don’t come out. It’s not conscious. It’s just how you feel on the day.”
Alonso said he was not frustrated “too much” with being stuck on two world titles since 2006, despite being regarded as one of the best drivers of his era, and three near-misses in 2007, 2010 and 2012.
“When you’re fighting for the world championship with someone and he gets the title, that’s frustrating,” Alonso said. “You start thinking: ‘I deserve it more.’ But I don’t have that feeling when I’m not in the championship fight.
“Actually, Lewis (Hamilton) really deserves the championships he’s having now. He had more talent than the results showed at the beginning. Now it’s a bit easier for him because his car is dominant, but he’s equal with Sebastian (Vettel) and that’s fair. I know the numbers are a little bit unfair with us. Maybe this year we’ll get some luck back.”
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