Two-time Formula 1 World Championship Fernando Alonso says the vested interests of businesses and manufacturers have made their opinion ‘more powerful’ than that of a driver.
One of the sport’s most successful competitors, the 2005 and 2006 champion is currently in the midst of his 14th season in F1 having made the switch from Ferrari to McLaren over the winter. As a measure of experience, only Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen have raced as long.
However, Alonso admits he is frustrated that even with experience on his side, his opinion as a driver is still less regarded than those of the teams and businesses involved in F1.
“It is tough,” when asked if drivers can enact change in F1. “As a driver, you are in position to ask for many things, but there is so much interest, businesses and manufacturers in the sport, they are more powerful than a driver’s opinion.”
Expanding on his point about whether he still ‘loves’ competing in F1 compared with the various guises of the sport he has competed in, Alonso doesn’t give the current era a resounding thumbs up.
“I think the cars are different – slower, heavier… In China, the pace in the race was 1min 43 and in 2004 the pace was 1min 33, so it is 10secs difference. When you drive 10 seconds slower you don’t have the same feelings.
“On the other hand, the DNA of the sport remains the same, which is competing against the others, beating the others and being cleverer than the others. When I go go-karting with friends, I have so much fun and I am doing 50kph, so it doesn’t matter how much quicker or slower you are, you just enjoy the competition.”