Fernando Alonso has made it clear that his focus for the rest of the season is on winning the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with the Toyota team rather than challenge for the sixth place with McLaren in Formula 1.
The Spaniard’s comments and body language make it clear he is counting his days before he can leave F1 behind him and focus on other forms of motorsport, where he can challenge for race wins and world championships.
Alonso remains a frustrated driver after four seasons of struggling on the wrong end of the grid with McLaren. The Woking, England-based team have not challenged for the podium since their switch to Honda in 2015 and after three years with the Japanese manufacturer they switched to Renault power in the hopes of getting closer to the top teams — Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.
But it has been the same as they fight for sixth place in the Constructors’ championship with Renault, Haas Racing ahead of them at the moment. Alonso’s frustration continues to grow after he recently revealed that McLaren have basically been racing with the same car since 2017 with no developments being brought forward unlike their competitors.
“We have not had improvements since Spain. We can see in photos and on the track that the rest of the teams in the middle zone bring things race to race and we do not,” Alonso said after yet another disappointing performance at the recently concluded Japanese Grand Prix, as quoted on Wheels 24.
“So the problem is not whether it’s the same car from Sochi or not. Actually, we have the same car from last year — from 12 months ago,” the Spaniard added.
Alonso is leaving F1 at the end of the 2018 season after 17 campaigns and two Drivers’ world championships. But his last win came in 2013 with Ferrari and the last time he was on the podium was in 2014.
The former Renault and Ferrari driver is considered among the F1 greats, but his final season has been underwhelming. And what is supposed to be a fond farewell is fast becoming a frustrating and unhappy end to an illustrious career.
And Alonso, who is currently in Fuji preparing for the WEC race on Sunday, made it clear his focus now is completely on his title fight. He is currently leading the championship by two points along with his Toyota Gazoo Racing teammates, but there are still five races remaining until the end of the campaign.
“In one world championship I’m trying to help the team to be sixth, in the other I am fighting to be world champion,” Alonso said. “There’s no doubt where my goal is.”
The 37-year-old has four more races before he brings to an end his F1 career and it is unlikely that he will stand on the podium again, but McLaren will be hoping to give him a fitting farewell in the races to come.