Formula 1

Will the Spaniard be in F1 in 2019?.

Fernando Alonso's reaction to finishing last at French GP creates more questions over his future

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Fernando Alonso was sending some pretty strange signals with his reaction to finishing last of the classified finishers in Sunday's French Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver, who just one week ago was celebrating victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours, started only 16th after a difficult qualifying for his McLaren team at Paul Ricard.

Though he would defend that by suggesting it was only the pace of the Saubers which surprised the British team, in the race, when the performance has usually been better, Alonso would still struggle, failing to challenge for points at any stage.

During the race, however, his engineer Will Joseph seemed to hype up the potential for a better result through suggestions of rain and claiming strong points paying position were still possible, something Alonso himself doubted.

"On the radio the team was definitely overexcited, telling me the gaps with the fifth guy, the sixth guy," he told Autosport.

"I was last after the Safety Car and I had a problem with the brakes overheating, I had one set of tyres for the whole race because we stopped on lap one to fit the yellow tyres so it was a defensive race.

F1 Grand Prix of France - Practice

"It was not frustration but we know that this weekend we've been quite uncompetitive."

At one point, the 36-year-old himself was heard putting that argument forward to the pit wall over the radio, perhaps trying to temper their expectations.

After being past by teammate Stoffel Vandoorne though, that is when Alonso's interest seemed to fade, giving up the 12th place he had by pitting late on for the Ultrasoft tyre and attempting the fastest lap, something that doesn't yield any kind of reward.

That is what resulted in his eventual 16th place finish, yet asked how he felt about that result, and whether he'd prefer to be back at Le Mans, his response was unexpected.

“I’m surprised how negative you are because as I say, we are the 20 top drivers in the world and the questions are how I manage to be positive, how I manage to smile, how I manage to breathe, to eat – I manage quite well, you know and I feel very privileged,” he said.

To hear that from a double world champion who has built his reputation on his unrelenting desire to succeed is what leads to the questions about his motivation in F1.

AUTO-PRIX-F1-FRA-PRESSER

Speculation is already linking him to IndyCar for a full season and not just the Indy 500 next year and Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko's claim of McLaren offering Daniel Ricciardo $20m a year to join also suggests this could be Alonso's last season on the grid.

Results in the upcoming run of four races in five weeks could be decisive with the summer break usually when drivers negotiate their contracts.

Looking ahead to the two races over the next fortnight, Fernando admitted: "I really hope that Austria and Silverstone will be better circuits for us.”

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Topics:
Stoffel Vandoorne
Fernando Alonso
Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari
McLaren
Mercedes
Formula 1

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