Fernando Alonso feels that he is enjoying his return to Formula 1 more than he expected despite a disappointing start to his 2021 campaign.
The Alpine driver impressed in the season-opener at Bahrain but has been off the pace compared to teammate Esteban Ocon at the other four races, scoring points just twice and being outqualified in the last four events. However, the enjoyment of driving an F1 is something Alonso missed during his time away from F1.
“In terms of happiness or how I feel coming back, it’s better than I expected – honestly,” Alonso told RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press. “I’m enjoying every weekend so much, enjoying driving so much and even on the weekends that we don’t have racing, I miss the grand prix.
“So now that we have three races planned from France to Austria, I will enjoy it because I like the back-to-back.
Since he left F1 in 2018, Alonso won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for a second time, becoming the champion of the World Endurance Championship that season in the process. He was also victorious at the Daytona 24 Hours and competed at the Indy 500 and Dakar Rally.
Alonso thinks there are two key factors as to why he is enjoying F1 so much after his exploits in other motorsport events.
“The two years out of the sport was needed for me," said Alonso. "After 18 seasons in Formula 1 non-stop, full dedication, it was too demanding at one point and I had in my head the challenges with Le Mans, with Daytona, with the World Endurance Championship possibility.
“I had to do those and tick those boxes to be happy and to be free. I felt that I was losing time in F1 in some of the last seasons before 2018. So once those challenges were completed, now I’m clear to enjoy every weekend here.
"The second factor is the team. I think the team is amazing. You know what atmosphere we have now, what motivation we have in the team in Enstone, in Viry, the hard work that everyone is putting in, how we approach every weekend, how we approach the little successes that we have some weekends and how we approach the bad moments in some of the weekends.
“We are all united in the same direction and this feels very good every week.”