Alonso reveals: First talks with Renault in November 2019

( – Fernando Alonso has mastered a number of adventures in the past one and a half years after leaving Formula 1 – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indy 500 or the Dakar Rally. A camera team was present at all of these races. In the new documentary “Fernando”, the Spaniard gives insights into the life of a racing driver, but also into his private life.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso is currently shooting the second season of his documentary



“I thought this would be a good time after I left Formula One to show people what the life of a racing driver is like. And to show them how wonderful all these races are – the Indy 500 or Le Mans “, he explains the intention behind it during the presentation.

In the five episodes, the viewer accompanies Alonso to the Chevrolet simulator, in which he is preparing for the Indy 500 challenge, or to a track briefing with his WEC teammates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima in Spa-Francorchamps.

First pursued other goals, then decided on F1

The Spaniard is primarily interested in the challenge of “driving a different car practically every week”. From the lone fighter in Indianapolis to the team player in Le Mans to a duo with co-driver Marc Coma in the Dakar Rally. “This is my normal life for me,” he grins.

But he is asked one question over and over again during all the adventures: When will he return to Formula 1? In the end, the comeback decision with Renault is dissolved. Alonso is already working with the film crew on the second season, which will highlight his return.

“We’re currently shooting and it’s obvious what about [die zweite Staffel] will act – my return to Formula 1. You will see a lot that you normally would not see, all the preparation. “The focus will be on the phase from the time the decision is made to the time you return to the track.

At the beginning of the shooting of the first season, the Formula 1 comeback was not even planned, Alonso reveals. Due to the corona pandemic, the documentation was also delayed, so the return could still be incorporated.

“There was only loose contact. I got the first call in June 2019, they just wanted to find out whether I was already bored at home. Then in August a team wanted to change drivers, but at that point I wanted to not back yet, “reveals Alonso. He does not go into detail about which team he means.

At first, however, he focused on other goals anyway. “Only then would I decide on Formula 1. The process ran smoothly, it was improvised and not planned.” It was only in November 2019 that he finally started initial talks with Renault.

Alonso doesn’t want to polish up his image

In the paddock of the premier class, the Asturian has a certain image. He is political, spirited and headstrong. In addition, scenes like the 2007 Hungary qualifying against Lewis Hamilton or the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix (“GP2 engine”) did not contribute to a positive perception.

“Everyone can have their own opinion. But it always suited me that they didn’t have a very good opinion of me. Because many people were surprised when they got to know me personally,” laughs Alonso.

With the film project, he is not trying to polish up his image. “That’s not something I’m worried about. As I said, everyone can have their own opinion. On social media there are always people who criticize everything about a well-known personality. Only the opinions of my team and my family are real to me important.”

And he adds: “If someone has a bad impression of me, then that person should be wondering why that is. After all, they don’t know me. I don’t really understand these people.” You not only get to see the racing driver Alonso in the documentary, but also the private individual.

He shows himself in a relaxed atmosphere at breakfast with girlfriend Linda, at meetings with his manager, at work with his fashion label or while cycling with friends. To let the camera team into the innermost circles was not easy.

“At the beginning I wasn’t comfortable with it. Athletes are constantly watched by cameras in the paddock, but outside it is like a shock. So it was difficult at the beginning. But the production team was fantastic, we got on very well. That’s why it was easier.”

Insights into private life & dealing with media

After 15 minutes he forgot the microphone and the camera in the room, says Alonso. “You tend to look at the camera or touch the microphone, but after a certain time the camera no longer exists. It becomes invisible.”

Due to the locations and positions of the crew, you get used to the situation and behave naturally again. “If you had a camera right in front of your nose all the time, the documentary wouldn’t be that good. Because then you would try to act all the time.”

Where did he personally draw the line between what can and cannot be shown? “You asked me what I was going to do next and I said I would go on a bike tour with some friends and then go to a restaurant for dinner,” he says of an anecdote.

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“And [das Kamerateam] said: ‘Okay! We’ll put a Mirko on you and accompany you! ‘ But I refused because that’s my private life. So we always discussed whether or not they could come with me. In the end they usually persuaded me to come with them. “

Because: If you don’t like it in the end, the passage will not appear in the documentary. “After all, you were with me all the time.” For example after the bitter qualifying defeat in Indianapolis. His collaboration with the media has not changed as a result of this process.

“You have been with me for 25 years now.” Alonso describes that the media interest is enormous, especially in Formula 1, and he complains about the high number of press appointments. “As soon as you’ve taken off your helmet, you have to go to a press conference.”

He doesn’t know any other athlete who has to give so many interviews. “So if you claim that a Formula 1 driver has a problem with the media or is holding back his private life, then you should also remember that we are holding 150 press conferences.”

(Sponsored Link: Watch the documentary “Fernando” now on Amazon Prime!)

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