Fernando Alonso mulled quitting Formula 1 during 2017 season
But Spaniard says he would have rued exit "for rest of my life"
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 26/03/18 8:21am
Fernando Alonso has admitted he contemplated quitting F1 last year amid McLaren’s Honda turmoil.
However, the two-time world champion says he ultimately decided not to finish his F1 career on a low note as he would "regret it for the rest of my life".
Alonso revealed his mid-2017 thought process in a revealing interview with the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine.
"I did think about the possibility of changing series and stopping Formula 1," he said.
"After I did the Indy 500 last year, when I came back there were a couple of races in Austria, Silverstone, when I thought 'maybe next year I could try a different series; I could do full commitment to the triple crown and do Indy and Le Mans and maybe that's the best thing'.
"But I felt it was not the time for me to step out - not right now, not after these results, not with this feeling… I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life and that I would have this bad taste for the rest of my racing career."
Alonso has finished on an F1 podium 97 times but not since July 2014 during his final season at Ferrari, where he grew tired of the team's failure to win the title world title.
But a return to McLaren has so far seen him slip further adrift of front-running contention with the Woking team enduring three trying years with Honda. They have now switched to Renault power for 2018.
"Definitely I still want to succeed," declared Alonso.
"There is unfinished business for me and McLaren together. And I think this year is the time all these things will change. I feel pretty sure about that."
McLaren's first pre-season with Renault proved inconclusive, with Alonso setting the third-quickest time of the winter on the final day but only after the MCL33 suffered five separate on-track breakdowns.
Alonso, who retired from 11 races last season, is expecting to return to "normality" when the new season begins in Australia next week after three years he admits have been "difficult".
"To be honest with you, it has not been easy," he explained.
"There have been ups and downs, highs and lows. Not in the race weekend itself, because when you go through practice and you start the meetings with engineers, prepare your qualifying runs and so on, the competitive sportsman inside you wakes up and you are ready to take any challenge.
"But between races it has been difficult. I had to push little bit more myself to stay focused and to stay in the game. I don't like losing - I like winning, in anything I do in life not only motorsport, so every Sunday night when I've been getting back from a race, I have not been happy."
The full Alonso interview appears in the Season Preview issue of F1 Racing magazine, on sale Thursday March 15
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