What's next for the versatile Fernando Alonso?

19-01-2020 13:11
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
F1 News
What's next for the versatile Fernando Alonso?

We don't know exactly what is on Fernando Alonso's motorsport bucket list, but at this point in his career, he can already cross off Formula 1, IndyCar, Le Mans and now Dakar. He might not have won the Indy500 or Dakar, but being as competitive as he was in both events with his lack of experience is very impressive in itself.

'Just' two F1 championships

When you're a two-time Formula 1 champion and it's considered as having underachieved, you know you're one heck of a driver. Alonso became the youngest champion in the sport's history in 2005 (a record which has been broken twice since) and defended his crown in 2006. At that point in his career, the sky seemed the limit for the Spaniard as he moved to McLaren to partner up with a rookie called Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso (and Hamilton) fell one point of the championship in 2007 and Alonso moved back to Renault for two years before switching to Ferrari in 2010. At the Italian works team, Alonso lost the championship in the final race of the season twice in three years to Sebastian Vettel. His second stint at McLaren in the final years of his F1 career turned out to be extremely frustrating and his attention turned to other racing series like the Indy500, in which he participated in 2017. He qualified very well and even led the race for a bit until (in rather typical fashion) eventually retiring with a mechanical issue.

Triple Crown

After basically bullying Honda away from McLaren, Alonso gave it one last try in F1 in 2018 with brand-new Renault engines. Things didn't get much better, however, and the veteran announced his departure from Formula 1 at the end of 2018.

2018 also saw the Asturian get the second jewel in his 'triple crown' as he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota in the middle of the F1 season. The triple crown is an unofficial title one gets for winning the Indy500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix (or F1 title, depending on who you ask, but Alonso has done both). Graham Hill remains the only driver in history to have won it. Alonso only has the Indy500 to go.

What's next?

The Dakar Rally was an aside for Alonso, who has already indicated he's not planning on returning to the event in 2021. Should he want to come back and challenge for the win, he would have to prepare more, particularly with the terrain and surroundings in the rally.

You can pencil Alonso in for the Indy500 in 2020. With no further commitments this year and the triple crown in his sights, Alonso will want to do everything within his powers to get the final jewel on his imaginary crown. Mario Andretti has indicated he's keen to get the Spaniard on board at his team, and Honda have expressed interest as well.

Apart from the Indy500 this season, however, it's a guessing game what Alonso will do next. A return to F1 seems more unlikely each year, with the young stars in the sport in Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc penning long-term deals at top teams. Alonso will not want to return unless he can fight for titles. What will he do next?

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