SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium, Aug 20 AFP – Fernando Alonso wishes he had left Ferrari sooner and, contrary to much speculation, feels he made the right decision to join struggling McLaren’s ‘new project’ with Honda.
The two-time world champion admitted on Thursday he felt “things were getting more and more sad” in his final months with the Italian team – and revealed he should have left them two years earlier.
“The car was not competitive at all and things were getting more and more sad,” he told CNN. “So, probably, one or two years less was the best thing, but you know we tried to do our best and we fought until the end of every single race.
“After five years in Ferrari and being second all the time, I think it was enough for me…”
Asked if he should have departed Maranello sooner instead of enduring the continuing struggles, he said: “Probably, yes…”
“Sometimes, with Ferrari, you win or you lose depending on what the mood of the team in general, of the group in general,” he added. “It’s a very big team, with some good things, some bad things, and as I said it’s good to experience and to live once.
“I didn’t want to give up and I wanted always to keep believing that it was possible and to keep the dream alive,” he said.
“Last year, I realised that with the Mercedes’ domination, it was not possible to win in the short term for Ferrari and a new project was the best idea.
“McLaren is a risky project because they were completely new, but we are one team – we win and we lose together.”
Despite a year of problems and penalties, Alonso has managed to score points twice for McLaren but, for him, the focus is more on 2016 than this season as the team builds for the future.
Alonso and teammate Jenson Button will suffer more grid penalties this weekend after the team decided to fit new engines.
Honda has been working on upgraded engines to be introduced following the sport’s four-week break following last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Struggling McLaren have been hit by repeated grid penalties this season as they bid to improve their performance and establish their new partnership with Honda.
Button is expected to be demoted five places on the grid and Alonso 10 when their penalties are announced on Friday after consideration of McLaren’s use of the complex ‘tokens’ system used for the introduction of new parts.