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Fernando Alonso

How 'extreme self-confidence' is putting off Alonso's retirement

The two-time World Champion is the most experienced driver in F1 history, as well as the oldest driver on the grid, turning 43 in the 2024 season.

Alonso Monza
To news overview © XPBimages

Fernando Alonso insists that he knows when to retire from Formula 1, but that his "extreme self-confidence" is pushing him to carry on racing.

Alonso currently has 377 Grand Prix starts to his name, as of the 2023 season-finale in Abu Dhabi, and is scheduled to become the first driver to record 400 Grand Prix starts in Qatar late next season.

The Spaniard has started 34.24% of all 1,101 World Championship races held to date, and impressed in the 2023 season, banking eight podiums for Aston Martin as he finished fourth in the championship for his best showing since finishing runner-up to Sebastian Vettel in 2013.

The Aston Martin is determined to carry on, but hinted that the burdens being placed on drivers, teams and paddock personnel could be the factor that ultimately makes him hang up his helmet.

Alonso knows when to retire

"I said even before 2018 (when he left F1 for the first time), that the day I will stop racing is not because I don't feel motivated for driving," Alonso told media including RacingNews365.

"If I feel as low, I think it will be noticeable and I will not be happy with my performance, and then I will be the first to raise my hand and say: 'Okay, this is time.'

"But I don't think that time will arrive in terms of feeling this low, because I have extreme self-confidence with my performance.

"It could be that with the calendar, the demanding schedule and things like that, that one day I will feel that it is time.

"There are other things in life, it has been a very demanding season with 'only' 22 races, with two cancellations [in China and Imola], and next year there are 24 races.

"We will have to see how it feels. Las Vegas, I saw that it is in a triple-header [in 2024], and I don't know why I thought it was alone next year, but it is with Qatar and then Abu Dhabi together.

"I found out that it was three races together, and it is these kinds of things that will drain my battery, and not driving."

World Champion Max Verstappen has been critical of the schedule and has heavily hinted that he could walk away after his current Red Bull contract expires after the 2028 season, with Alonso echoing his thoughts.

"I feel the same way to be honest," he said of Verstappen's comments.

"But I felt that way in 2006/2007 and I remember signing for McLaren in 2007, a three-year contract, and thought at the time that it was my last contract, and here we are."

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