Sports · June 30, 2022

Fernando Alonso: “Bad week” for F1, says the former world champion

Former F1 world champion Fernando Alonso returns to the circuit and prepares for this year’s British GP on Sunday, but racing questions have had to take a back seat.

Asked by CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies about how harmful Pique’s comments are for the sport, two-time world champion Alonso said, “It’s harmful and there’s no place in sport for those comments.”

F1, the Mercedes of the Hamilton team, and the FIA, the governing body of motorsport, on Tuesday condemned Piquet for using racial slurs.

Meanwhile, Hamilton, who has scored the most race wins in F1 history, said it was “time to act” on racism and responded to Piquet’s comments in a series of Twitter posts, writing: “Vamos focar em mudar a mentaldade” – Portuguese for “Let’s focus on changing the mentality”.

Piquet addressed his comments on Wednesday, which were made in November last year but only came to light when the interview was released on Monday.

He said: “What I said was ill-conceived and I do not defend myself, but I will clarify that the term used is one that has been widely and historically used colloquially in Brazilian Portuguese as a synonym for ‘boy’ or ‘person’ and never has intended to offend.

“I would never use the word I have been accused of in any translations. I strongly condemn any suggestion that the word was used by me with the aim of belittling a driver because of his skin color.”

Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet has apologized for using a racial slur aimed at Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso told CNN Sport that he and his Alpine team are “staying with Lewis,” adding that in recent years there has been a “big shift” in his team to make it more inclusive.

“Sport should be an example for our society,” he said. “And this week has been very sad for our sport and let’s see what the actions will be after those comments.

“I think we will agree with whatever the FIA ​​or FOM do, but I believe there is a need for action. If it’s just another episode, there is no action, I think it’s not enough. I think we have to move from these people. and this is a perfect example. “

Piquet’s comments came in the same week that Red Bull Racing terminated junior driver Juri Vips’ contract after an investigation into his alleged use of racist slurs during a live game stream.

The 21-year-old Estonian was relieved of all team duties on June 21 and, following the incident, Vips apologized and admitted that the language used was “completely unacceptable” in a post on his personal Instagram account.

Alonso told CNN that he has seen many positive changes in the sport during his 21 years in the paddock.

“There are a lot of women working on the team now, a lot of talented designers and mechanics. And we have all kinds of people that we love having them,” she said.

“We like to share the team with them. And this is a sport, as I said, [that] he should be an example for our world. “

F1 is back

The 40-year-old is enjoying his return to F1, having quit the sport in 2018.

“This year, I think we are a little more competitive, so this is also building my confidence,” said the Spaniard, who returned last year.

Alonso finished ninth at last week’s Canadian Grand Prix, having made his first front row start in 10 years.

“It was cool,” he told CNN. “It was a very special moment because, after returning to Formula 1, it’s not like you have to prove things, but it’s a lot of dedication and sacrifices you make to get back and be fit for Formula One more at 40. And when you give a good result is somehow [a] relief and proof that you are working very hard to get those results. “

Like most athletes, Alonso hates losing, but said his outlook changed during his second stint in the sport.

Alonso took his first front row start in 10 years at last week's Canadian Grand Prix.

“Over time, in Formula 1 you realize that you have to have the package to win. It’s not just that one day you have a strange inspiration and are offering something magical,” he said.

“In Formula 1 the magic doesn’t exist too much. You need the right car and the right day to perform, so I’m trying to build that package and that winning car with Alpine, but I’m enjoying the process of doing it. It’s not a frustration because you are not winning.

“I miss winning. Yes, sure. But luckily I had this break in Formula 1 that I tried different categories with endurance, with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indy Car, Dakar, Daytona, all those categories brought me the I felt victory again and I was on top of the podium and this was enough, I think, to reset these demands for victory ”.

“And now I can spend [a] a few more years trying to win Formula 1 “, he added.