F1 Double world champion Fernando Alonso says that, missing drivers’ championship with Ferrari was more frustrating than being at the centre of McLaren’s existing struggle to get off the back two rows of the grid.
McLaren have suffering with troubles at the start of their new Engine partner Honda and they are currently running at the back of the field.
While Ferrari have made a big step forward in form and Alonso’s replacement, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, claimed the Italian outfit’s first victory since May 2013 by beating the defending champions Mercedes in Malaysia. Now Ferrari appears to have established itself as Mercedes’ main rival after three races in 2015.
Last race at China, both McLaren’s are failed to progress from the first qualifying session, then Alonso secured 12th place in race; the first time he has finished a grand prix since leaving Ferrari. But the Spaniard insists he is less frustrated than he was at Ferrari.
“The frustration, I have been racing for 14 years in Formula One and this is a situation that we know,” he told ESPN.
“In the recent years [at Ferrari] it was more frustrating because we were fighting for championships and didn’t get them, now it’s another new project and I am much more optimistic.
“It is time to be together in the team and enjoy this process. We will look at each other in a couple of months and be proud of each other, and this is what I am here for.”
Sky Sports, asked if Ferrari technical director James Allison, the man credited with reviving the marque’s fortunes, had tried to convince him of the promise of the 2015 car last season, Alonso replied: “They tried for five years so it was difficult to keep the trust. Not only the trust, there are many other factors that [mean] McLaren-Honda are more attractive for me now.
“Of course, I understand the questions – Ferrari won in Malaysia, I was out of Q2, so it’s a very easy question now.
“But in November we’ll see. If they win the championship, it’s a bad decision. If they finish second, it’s a very good decision.”
Asked why he is happy to be at the tail end of the grid when, as a notoriously impatient driver, he was not happy with being at the tail end of the top 10 with Ferrari, he said: “You are not probably aware of my character or my way to approach races for the last seven years. Maybe you were in an igloo or something. I was happy and pushing the team even when we had an uncompetitive car to fight for the championships.
“I had my passion and my motivation and my way to motivate the team even in difficult moments. For many years I showed that and now I am in a new project trying to build something important.
“You need to do something different and take some risks and that’s what I have decided to do. I was second in the world championship for three years in five with Ferrari. I could have continued two more years and maybe finished second again but that was not enough and I preferred the risk.
“So it is time for many others to enjoy this moment. I don’t think they are fighting against me because some of the ones who are enjoying this, they are third – one second behind the leaders. They might well be beating me but they are not beating Mercedes and that, at the end of the day, is my goal. So this is the time for others to enjoy, soon it will be time for me.” (Images © McLaren-Honda)