2-times World Champion Fernando Alonso came out of retirement in 2021 to join Alpine after having previously retired at the end of the 2018 season. Now, the Spaniard admitted his period out of the sport made him appreciate more fans.
Fernando Alonso’s comeback might have been a risky move in 2021. After a two-year sabbatical, the Asturian decided to rejoin the grid with Alpine. However, in a short amount of time the Spanish driver, who has now moved to Aston Martin to replace Sebastian Vettel, has regained his title as one of the most loved drivers on the grid.
Discussing his return to the sport on the High Performance podcast, Alonso admitted he is now more appreciative of the sport and its fans. The 42-year-old opened up on realizing the fans’ affection during retirement: “I didn’t have any perception or anything that maybe people thought about the sport or myself in general.
“But when I stopped, the only thing that I received every time that I was meeting people or any fan or people at the airport or in the hotels or whatever was ‘you need to come back, you need to come back’, these kind of things. So the people, it was a surprise that they loved what we were doing because for me, the last few years before I stopped, it was like we are nearly anonymous here, no one is seeing us and the sport was not maybe great as it is now with all this Drive to Survive and Netflix. So I thought that it was much less interesting, but I was surprised at how much love I received from people.”
Alonso: “Formula One is more glamorous and fake”
Alonso has since embraced a new role also as one of the most active drivers on social media, including platforms such as TikTok, as he admitted to only having understood the importance of media while watching the sport as a spectator: “I saw Formula One, which is in motorsport very different than other categories, much more selfish, much more glamorous in a way, but fake in another way. I think it was more pure motorsport at Le Mans, or Indy, or Dakar, for sure.
“But Formula One had this appeal. The people want to attend the races, want to watch on TV. I was watching also on TV the Formula One races. I appreciate a little bit more all the stuff that as a driver I didn’t like before. So the National Anthem, the Parade Lab, having a little bit more access to the media and the cameras, which when you are a driver, you hate those moments. But when I was just in my living room, I was missing those moments. And if one or two drivers were a little bit more smiley or a little bit more accessible, I think it was appreciated from home.
“So when I came back to the sport, I think I took a step more relaxed into those things and I was a little bit more or I took care a little bit more, I’m taking care a little bit more of fans and TV and these kinds of things because I understand the importance of it. And that was able only because I was two years out of Formula 1.”
Headline Image: Aston Martin F1 Team
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