By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief
Fernando Alonso senses the end of his Formula 1 career is near and believes that the next challenge could include the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Spaniard came into F1 at 20-years-old with Minardi in 2001 and has since enjoyed two championships, 32 wins and 97 podiums in 260 starts. However, the uphill battle since reuniting McLaren has been far greater than expected and rumors of retirement have run rampant despite a contract that isn’t set to expire until the end of the 2017 season.
Now, at 35-years-old, Alonso isn’t afraid to look at life beyond F1.
“When time has come, I’ll leave F1, I know it,” Alonso told L’Equipe. “When you are no longer fast enough, when you don’t like it anymore, when you cannot cope with the demands, you know [it’s time to move on].
“Still, when you look at drivers like (Kimi) Raikkonen, (Jenson) Button, or (Felipe) Massa, it feels like these guys could go on forever, but I probably won’t be like them.
“At the moment, I feel like I am coming to the end of my dream. When I was a little boy, my dad built a go-kart that had a livery inspired from the McLaren-Honda. Now, I am driving a McLaren-Honda. I have the feeling to come circle in a romantic way.”
Alonso did concede that would likely be short-lived given his need for racing.
“It’s still too early to talk about what I’ll do after F1. The life of a grand prix driver is very demanding. I am focused on F1 365 days a year, whether it is driving the car or training. Once I retire from the sport, I think I’ll enjoy returning to a more normal life. At first.
“Then, I’m sure I’ll miss the drive of competing as well as the adrenaline rush. That’s what my life has been all about. It’s very likely that I’ll keep racing in another series, albeit one less time-consuming. Le Mans would be perfect, as you don’t have to be away from home all year long.”