Fernando Alonso admitted that it is way harder to improvise in F1, compared to WEC and Indycar. However, the Spaniard thinks there are a lot of things to learn and to exploit from the years he spent away from Formula One.
In 2018, Fernando Alonso left Formula One for an undetermined time, to chase the triple crown, which, for the time being, is solely held by Graham Hill. In order to claim the triple crown, a racing driver needs to win the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the 500 miles of Indianapolis, which are considered the most notable motorsports events to have ever existed.
The Spaniard is already a double Formula 1 champion and already has a victory at the Monaco Grand Prix to his credit. He, therefore, decided to give himself some time to give a shot at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 500 miles of Indianapolis. Even if he never encountered success on the American floor, the 39-year-old claimed the victory around the Circuit de la Sarthe twice.
In 2021, Alonso came back to Formula One with Renault, freshly rebranded under the name of Alpine, which is a team he knows well as they helped him secure his two Formula One world championships in 2005 and 2006.
Thanks to the experience he gathered in endurance racing and in Indycar, Alonso thinks he can become a better driver than he has ever been. Nevertheless, the Spaniard confided that Formula One is a discipline in which it is extremely hard to get the most out of the game as there is almost no place left for improvisation.
Alonso there refers to the very unexpected endurance races, in which almost every challenger has a chance to win, considering the extreme durability required for the cars and the traffic management, amongst all.
“Everything is so controlled that you are not able to improvise many things on a Formula 1 weekend,” Alonso said.
“Because Formula 1 is a very closed environment, you repeat the same thing every two weeks and the same exact routine every two weeks. Your driving style gets in a way the same for over the years, and you just follow in a way the instruction from your team.”
“They are optimizing everything in the car, and they are optimizing as well your driving style, so they are telling you what to do – where to save the tires, where to save the energy on the battery, where to perform the burnouts, how many to do before the start.”
“In endurance racing, you have to be yourself, much more than [in] any other race car. You are finding traffic in different places on different laps, in different times of the day, for every single lap.”
Nonetheless, the two-time world champion also pointed out that his experience, in WEC especially, helped him become a better teammate and to be able to push the team way further than he used to do. This will probably be very helpful for his future with Alpine, as he is clear concerning his current objectives: win the world championship with Alpine, as soon as possible.
“There are many lessons that you learn in different categories that hopefully you can apply in Formula 1, or I can apply in the future.”
“The same in IndyCar, I think the level of detail that you have to reach in terms of setup, in terms of preparation for the Indy 500 race, is much higher than any Formula 1 event.”
“Every time you jump in the car, you have to share much more with your teammates. There is a lot more teamwork on endurance racing than Formula 1, so there are things that you are learning, and you are taking that different approach for your future adventures in motorsport.”