Former F1 and McLaren driver John Watson doesn’t believe Fernando Alonso should jump ship or quit Formula 1.
Amid suggestions that Alonso could leave F1 and move on to greener pastures, Watson, who raced for McLaren between 1979 and 1983, says it’s still too early in the Spaniard’s career for a change of scenery.
“I think Fernando Alonso has about 32 million reasons why he should stay with McLaren-Honda,” Watson told Sky’s F1 Report, alluding perhaps to the driver’s lavish retainer.
“He may want at some point in his decline – and he certainly is not in a decline right now – to go off and do something else, such as race at Le Mans. That is an option for him but not at the current time.”
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Alonso’s first spell with McLaren back in 2007, marked by a bitter rivalry with Lewis Hamilton, didn’t end well, but Watson believes past and present circumstances are entirely different.
“I think what happened at McLaren in 2007 was more the result of what I would describe as mismanagement of the situation,” he said.
“It’s a different situation now because there is new management at McLaren and the situation is fundamentally around the Honda power unit that has not delivered over three years.”
The two-time world champion insists his motivation remains intact, indeed publicly labeling his latest efforts in Australia and China as ‘incredible’ efforts, or the ‘best races’ he has ever driven.
But his enthusiasm is perhaps just a bout of self-promotion destined to convince a potential employer, like Mercedes, of his energy and motive.
“The pressure is clearly on Honda and all Fernando can do is use the divisiveness he’s been accused of in the past as motivation to get them to work even harder,” Watson concluded.
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