Among friends, in the Fernando Alonso museum, eating a piece of cake and smiling sincerely, the driver spoke to TVE. Fernando Alonso, the man still considered by some to be the best driver in the world, he looked back over his time at the wheel:
Fifteen years in Formula 1
"I remember my first big win in Australia, how could I forget it? It was a big day, euphoric, a dream come true. I remember the advice that my father gave me: "son, go to sleep, sleep well and tomorrow don't forget to savour the moment". I once saw F1 as something beyond my reach, I never ever thought I could be champion. Later on I had to take advantage of every opportunity, because in Formula 1 you don't get second chances".
"My mother doesn't worry the way she used to anymore, she used to call me every time I got out of the car to see how it went, now it's easier because I've made a family group and I send the same message to everyone! My mother said a curious thing to me the other day: "hey Fernando, the car's running much better eh?"- "How do you know that" I asked her, "because I read about it", she said. These days the family find out about everything before I even get a chance to tell them!"
F1 now, and the future
"F1 right now? The cars are too slow, they've taken all the joy out of driving, in any case, I still have a few years left at the top level, two more at least and then I'll see what my body says. I'm curious to see what the cars will be like in 2017, I'll get into one and then think about the future. I don't know what I'm going to do after 30 years at the wheel, but when I stop, it's over, all of it. No turning back. Before that, I'd like to do Le Mans and go back to karting, which I've always loved".
"In this new era at McLaren I've found people who offered me their car to drive, mechanics to improve it, fans, friends, people I know who supported me, it's hard to take when you disappoint people. This season is different, I've started off on the right foot, maybe not to win outright, but things will be very different to last season. I'm very motivated and ready to put in my best season ever. The car this year is a high-born, but with some limitations, I've been told there'll be some important improvements".
Mercedes and happiness
"You always want to be wherever the best car is, and that's Mercedes, but I'm at a team that tries its best to make me happy, and yes, I am happy".
Legacy of Alonso the driver
"I'd like my son to remember me as a fighter, I'm not the most talented, or the best on wets, or on dries, or in Monaco, but in equal cars and equal conditions, I'd beat them all".
"Doing any job that doesn't excite you is a nightmare, I'm very competitive and still have the same hunger and desire to win, I act on impulses, I eat when I'm hungry, sleep when I'm tired, but above all I want to win".
"I like magic, I inherited it from my uncle, but the most important trick I've ever pulled off was winning the Formula 1 world title twice".
"I'm a madridista by blood, Real Madrid runs in the family, of course they'll be there or thereabouts in the Champions League. About that thing that Cristiano said about the others being at his level and all that? No, I'd never do that, the people on my team are very talented, they've worked at NASA and places like that, they're highly-trained engineers".
"I'm a romantic, if I had to define each team I've been with I'd say Minardi gave me my first break, Ferrari is a team where everyone should go once and McLaren the place that I hope to complete the full circle after I started in that replica car that Senna used".