Fernando Alonso insists he still has no regrets about leaving Ferrari at the end of 2014, despite the team finally finding winning form this season.
Alonso was keen to point out that he walked away from a contract for 2015-’16 – two seasons when the team struggled to match Mercedes. He says that he enjoyed the new challenge of working with McLaren and Honda more than if he had extended his stay at Maranello and still failed to win in those seasons, and the fact that the team is winning now is irrelevant, because he didn’t have a deal for 2017.
“I didn’t have a contract for this year,” he said. “Even in 20 years time, Ferrari will keep winning, and hopefully they won’t ask if Alonso was right or not to leave Ferrari. I will be 75 years old! I drove five years there, they won in the past, they won in my time, we were fighting for the World Championships until the end. They won a couple of races the last two years, they are winning races now, and they will win races and championships in the future. So it’s not always if Fernando did well or not.
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“We would like to be more competitive here, that’s for sure. At least in the years that I had contract, 2015, 2016, I’m still thinking that I took a good decision to come to McLaren. I learned many things, I worked with one of the best engineers that I ever worked with here in McLaren that currently we have in the team, I learned so many things, and there [at Ferrari] arrived the time that it was too stressful not to keep winning.”
He made it clear that more years of disappointment at Ferrari would be stressful: “When you are in your first, second, third year it’s OK, when you are in your seventh, eighth year, it’s very difficult. The quality of life improved for me in the last two years, despite the results. Now they are winning, like Mercedes are winning, and every car that is winning you will be on it, because you want to win races, but it doesn’t take what I did in the past.
“When I left Renault, ‘You should never have left Renault’ in 2006. They never won any more times. Probably you say this because I saw some covers of magazines today, ‘A wasted talent.’ I’m super happy with my career, I was always in a competitive car, thanks God, and I had an opportunity to reach things. There are many talented drivers here that have never been on the podium, so we’ll see what the future brings. At the moment I’m quite happy with what I did and what I am today.”