Fernando Alonso’s verdict on Max Verstappen early retirement claims

“That’s what I was thinking when I was at Max’s age."

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola, Italy,
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team. Formula 1 World Championship,…

Fernando Alonso admits he “couldn’t” walk away from F1 in his younger days, in response to Max Verstappen’s claims.

Reigning Formula 1 champion Verstappen, aged 26, has repeatedly insisted he will walk away from the sport at a relatively young age.

Alonso also quit F1 in 2018 but, after a two-year ‘retirement’, he was back.

And Alonso, the oldest driver on the grid, has now signed a new Aston Martin contract which will keep him racing in F1 until he is 45.

He was asked by The Times about Verstappen’s wish for an early retirement, and he answered: “That’s what I was thinking when I was at Max’s age.

“I remember it was back in 2007, I signed a contract with McLaren for three years after being World Champion with Renault and I was 200 per cent sure that it was my last contract.

“I thought that it was my last season in 2018 and I said ‘bye bye’ to F1, thinking that it was enough for my career.

“I found, even when I decided to stop, I couldn’t.”

Two-time F1 champion Alonso has recaptured some of his old swagger since joining Aston Martin.

The team has big plans over the next few years, including a new HQ and a link-up with Honda as an engine supplier, which could benefit the veteran driver.

But he knows that retirement cannot be avoided forever.

“I know that it will soon arrive again,” Alonso said.

“The moment that I will 100 per cent say ‘bye bye’ to F1 and I don’t know exactly what I will do.”

“It’s something strange because we are privileged people, only 20 in the world driving Formula 1 cars.

“So it’s logical that you think you will love to do this as long as you are fast and you are happy.

“But at the same time, it’s taking away everything in your life that makes you happy.

“Some adjustments will be done, with my family coming to more races and this type of thing, to try and have fewer downsides.”

Read More