The Spanish Fernando Alonso (McLaren), double world champion of Formula One (2005 and 2006, with Renault), disputed in Abu Dhabi his last race in the premier class of motorsport, which dismissed him with all the honors at the Yas circuit Marina, waiting for the goodbye to be only a ‘see you later’.
The Asturian double world champion, with 32 victories -the 32 that Spain has in all its history-, 97 podiums and 22 ‘poles’ in F1, completed his seventeenth season in the United Arab Emirates capital and his Grand Prize number 314 (311 starts), twelve of the Brazilian Rubens Barrichello’s record.
Alonso, also a triple world runner-up, drove ten years (five in each) in the two most successful teams in history, Ferrari and McLaren, but won his two titles with Renault (in which he was six). From the hand of the Italian Flavio Briatore, together with his father, José Luis, the most influential person during his sports career. That in F1 started in 2001, with Minardi; after being world champion in ‘karts’ and shining in Formula 3000.
Fernando, born 37 years ago in Oviedo, will not play the 2019 World Cup, but will continue to be linked to McLaren, the team where he spent the last four seasons forgotten and in which his compatriot Carlos Sainz will run next year, who after three years at Toro Rosso, he completed his fourth F1 season at Yas Marina, aboard a Renault, with a remarkable sixth place.
On Friday, both the head of the Woking team, the American Zak Brown, and the Asturian star himself – who indicated that “his door is always open” – admitted that this will be a more than authorized voice in the development of the 2019 car .
A year in which, however, Alonso – who has long since earned the right to do whatever he wants in the world of motorsports – will have as his goal the World Endurance Championship (WEC), which he leads with Toyota; and the 500 Miles of Indianapolis (USA). In search, after winning -twice- the Monaco Grand Prix and the ‘Triple Crown’ 24 Hours of Le Mans (France), a feat that to date has only been achieved by the Englishman Graham Hill, who died in a plane crash, at age 46, in 1975.
The WEC ‘Super-season’ has three races left in 2019: the 1,000 Miles of Sebring (Florida, USA) and the two repeating events: the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And Alonso will look for the ‘Triple Crown’ on May 26 at the ‘Brickyard’ in Indianapolis.
But before all that, in February he will repeat, in the absence of official confirmation – expected shortly – and this time in search of victory, in the 24 Hours of Daytona, also in American Florida, aboard a Cadillac. Curling the curl and expanding the aforementioned crown to ‘quadruple’.
Alonso leaves F1 after a frantic 2018 in which in Abu Dhabi – where he received the visit of King Emeritus, Don Juan Carlos, and Infanta Cristina; and where he was accompanied by his immediate family- he completed his twenty-seventh weekend of competition.
After finishing eleventh in a race won by five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and in which the result was the least of it, the day will close with a party that will be brief for Fernando. That he will get up early this Monday to exchange cars at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain with the American Jimmie Johnson, a living Nascar legend, in which he has won seven titles.
An event framed in a synergy that links the great Asturian pilot more with the brands that Johnson pilots – present this weekend at Yas Marina – than with the category in which he competes.
Alonso, one of the main figures in the history of Formula One and, from the perspective of Spain, an unrepeatable champion that no one could have imagined in his country just a couple of years before his debut, said goodbye to the category reigns this Sunday in the capital of the Emirates, where on Saturday he received a warm and well-deserved tribute.
Although the majority of motor lovers – who consider it little amortized by F1 – wish that the goodbye of the Asturian genius remains only a ‘see you later’. And that he tries to emulate other myths of this sport, such as the Austrian Niki Lauda -triple champion- and the French Alain Prost -quadruple-, who, after retiring, returned in search of a last title. EFE