Alonso: Ill never forget my time with Renault 01 Oct 2009
The news he is to seek pastures new over in Italy with Ferrari signals the end of Fernando Alonsos longstanding love affair with the Renault team. Despite starting his career with Minardi, and his brief sojourn at McLaren in 2007, hes spent six years racing and winning with the French outfit. With three Grands Prix still to run during his notice period, the Spaniard is determined hell bow out on a high
Q: Fernando, your life has been like a fast train: always at top speed and only stopping at a few stations. Have these nine years in Formula One gone by quickly for you?
Fernando Alonso: Yes, these nine years have gone by so quickly, in my private life and as a racing driver even more so - we are always moving from place to place, we are always on the go with races, engagements, sponsor events the truth is that it seems like I only just started yesterday.
Q: Was it worth for you to have done so many sacrifices in your life?
FA: Yes, this is my life. Its what I enjoy doing. For me, Im someone in a single seater with a steering wheel in my hands, it is natural.
Q: Could you live without Formula One racing?
FA: I think so. Right now it is my job and my passion, but this will not last forever. Ive got other dreams in life and I will be ready to face them when the moment is right.
Q: You said one day that regardless of how long you will be in F1 you would like to end you career by winning a world championship title. Do you still feel the same way?
FA: Yes, that is one of the things that Ive got in my head, but it's not easy. The danger is that when you win and everything goes well, you are always under the temptation to keep going for another year to repeat it again, without realising that achieving a title is something very complicated. That is why, Im sure in the next few years, if I am lucky enough to win another title, it would be the perfect moment to stop.
Q: Will you miss what you will be leaving behind? Renault is your life, they are your people, your family, a bit like your own house
FA: Yes, all my F1 life Ive walked hand-in-hand with Renault. They are people that I could never forget because with them, and thanks to them, I accomplished everything I have today. I will be eternally thankful and, of course, I will always keep in contact with all the good friends that I have made through the years. Renault is a team and a group of people that I will always keep in my heart.
Q: How many things do people dont know about you?
FA: Lots. In truth, they shouldnt need to know who I am. I believe that what they should only be interested in is how I perform in a car.
Q: You are 28 years-old; you have won two titles and are earning a good living, what remains of the 19 year-old who arrived in Australia in 2001 to race in Formula One for the first time?
FA: I'm the same guy than that day in March in 2001 when I arrived in Australia and the same that is in Suzuka today. I have not changed at all. The things that have changed are the ones around me. When I arrived at Minardi nobody knew me and I didnt generate interest in the paddock. Now people respect you much more, admire you and maybe that is what has changed. Fernando, the person, remains the same; maybe its because of my education, thanks to the family I've got: humble people that keep doing the same things than ten years ago and will keep on doing for ever.
Q: You are not the typical driver that sees himself as a superstar
FA: I'm a very normal person. People who know me well know that I havent changed.
Q: You know that many people say that you are the best
FA: The only thing I know is that I can take one hundred per cent performance of any car that you give me. Now if people say that I'm the best... no I do not think I can say that.
Q: You are very honest. Sometimes this a virtue; do you think that it can be an inconvenience?
FA: I dont think that its an inconvenience. Things should be said face to face, always. When they are good things, fantastic and when they are bad things, they are said face to face to improve and never to criticize.
Q: How would you like to say goodbye to Renault?
FA: With good racing. After the first podium of the season, which was a great delight for everyone, I only hope I can give them the greatest number of points possible in the three races left and of course I would like to say goodbye with a big hug to all the people that I care for and with the hope that they will be a strong rivals in the future. I will miss them a lot. I hope they will do very well.
Q: You are the 11th driver in history to obtain such a number of victories, you are one off to enter in the top ten, two to equal Nelson Piquet and three to equal Juan Manuel Fangio, four to equal Niki Lauda and Jim Clark and six from Jackie Stewart. How do you feel about that?
FA: I dont follow any statistics. It is good to know and now that you mention it, it fills me with hope, but I think that this is for when you retire. Then, when I will reflect back and think about how well I did in this sport, when I see that I'm at the same level as the greatest names in motorsport, all these legends, I will be very proud.
Q: You have fought hard to be where you are now, but on a personal level, who helped you the most in the way to achieve it?
FA: My family
Q: After so many victories, have you learnt how to lose?
FA: Yes, I have learnt how to loose because with age you learn to know the world better, the whims of destiny and the sport itself. It is impossible to have a victory every time that you go on the track or to do it year on year. It is a simple rule of life. But there are moments when you are ready to win and you should take advantage of those moments and the only thing that you can do is to give all you can and try to improve as quickly as possible.