Alonso says “demanding” and long 2024 F1 calendar “will drain my battery, not driving”

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Fernando Alonso has had an exceptional 2023 season, securing eight podium finishes and missing out on points only three times in his inaugural season with Aston Martin. He beat Charles Leclerc to P4 in the Drivers’ Championship on countback.

Fernando Alonso

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team

His journey to this point has been marked by highs and lows. Taking a two-year break from Formula 1 due to dissatisfaction with McLaren’s decline and lack of performance, the two-time world champion returned to the sport with the Alpine team in 2021.

Reflecting on his return to regular podium contention in 2023 — at least in the first part of the season — Alonso expressed the joy of competitiveness and the thrill he has for the sport, saying: “To be competitive, to feel the speed again, and to arrive to the weekend again knowing that you need to do everything perfect because there is a podium possibility or a race win possibility, that really gives you a very different approach and a very different love for the things you do and dedications.”

Despite being 42 years old, Alonso acknowledged that his potential retirement might not be age-related but could stem from the demanding Formula 1 schedule. “I said many times, even before 2018, the day that I will stop racing is not because I feel not motivated for driving or I feel slow.”

“If I feel slow one day, I think it will be noticeable and think I will not be happy with my performance, and I will be the first one to raise my hand and say, ‘this is time [to stop]’.

“But, I don’t think that time will arrive. Honestly, in terms of feeling slow, because I have extreme self-confidence in my performance, it could be that with the calendar and with the demanding schedule that one day I will feel it’s time, because there are other things in life.”

The 2023 Formula 1 season received criticism for its gruelling nature, even with two cancelled races. With the upcoming season set to feature a whopping 24 races and 6 sprints, including multiple triple-headers, many drivers are uncertain about the challenges ahead, including the two-time F1 World Champion.

“It’s been a very demanding season with only 22 races, with two cancellations.

“Next year, with the proper [24-round] calendar, we have to see how it feels.”

Expressing surprise at the last triple-header scheduling that features Vegas, Qatar and Abu Dhabi — including a long trip from the western side of the United States to the Middle East. He backed up Verstappen’s thoughts on the current schedule.

“I saw that it’s a triple-header. I don’t know why. I thought that Vegas was alone next year — it’s three races together. These kinds of things will drain my battery, not driving.”