Fernando Alonso appears to have become more philosophical as he turns 30, reflecting on his time in the top echelon of motorsport with a similar view to one of F1's greats.
The Spaniard, who celebrated his third decade on the opening day of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, says that he has grown to understand and appreciate the machinations of grand prix racing, having joined the top flight as a teenager in 2001. Since making a start with Minardi, and then sitting out a year before joining Renault, Alonso proved his class with a brace of world titles with the regie
in 2005-6, before joining McLaren for an acrimonious year courtesy of his relationship with rookie Lewis Hamilton and the advent of 'spygate'. He then returned to Renault for two seasons before pledging his long-term F1 future to Ferrari from 2010.
"I have learned to live with it," Alonso told Agence France Presse
during his celebrations in the Hungaroring paddock, "It requires a lot from you - physically, mentally, total dedication, your time."
The Spaniard then echoed Ayrton Senna when he compared his current situation to that where he started out.
"F1 is half politics, half sport," he admitted, "In karts, it's sport only but, when you get here, it surprises you a bit - and bothers you too. You want everything to be more transparent, clearer, but, when you accept F1, it has its charm. But you do have to realise about all the political interests."
Among the red tape that entangles the top flight is a rule that Alonso broke in the aftermath of last weekend's German Grand Prix, when he hitched a lift back to the paddock with Red Bull rival Mark Webber. Fortunately for the pair, who completed the podium alongside race winner Hamilton, no action was taken against them.
"Nobody would have understood if we had acted according to the letter of the law, so we didn't do any punishment," an FIA official told Germany's Speed Week