At 41, Fernando Alonso has been racing in Formula 1 for as long as some of his rivals are alive. The two-time champion has completed more Grand Prix laps than anyone in history — and has no plans to retire.
Before returning to F1 last year for Alpine, the Spaniard took a two-year sabbatical to explore other motorsports. It didn’t take long for him to enjoy the success: He won the Le Mans 24 Hours 2018 and 2019, the Rolex 24 at Daytona 2019 and the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship. He also tested his driving ability in the IndyCar and Dakar Rally. With all he has achieved and been through before these victories, he believes he has only matured as a driver and is much better now than when he left Formula first.
GQ spoke to the racing legend about how consistency has helped his longevity, how he’s managed to navigate a demanding schedule, and the advice he imparts to all riders young.
GQ: Has your diet method changed in your career?
Fernando Alonso: Not as much as you might imagine after 21 consecutive years at the top level. It’s a sport that’s constantly evolving because of technology, car developments and materials, and a lot has happened in those 21 years. But its driver part hasn’t changed much. We still drive as fast as we can with every car we have. Even when we were doing our go-kart race, we were driving as fast as we could.
That routine for nearly 365 days a year, as quickly as possible, in optimal physical condition for driving? Obviously, we have to practice and do a lot of stuff on the neck. In general, I think the more we drive, the better we feel when we’re driving. That’s probably why the diet hasn’t changed much in the past 21 years.
As cars go faster, do you have to change some of your training to handle the physical demands?
No, not really, I think it hasn’t changed much over the years. In the early 2000s, cars could be more physically demanding because they were lighter and faster in corners. Today we run with a full tank of fuel on Sundays, so it’s a bit slower in the race, while on Saturdays it’s obviously much faster because we have less fuel. . But physically it doesn’t really change for me.
A lot of food is taken care of for you throughout the season, but do you allow yourself to eat beyond the norm for you?
I allow myself some time to live out of my normal routine, especially during summer or winter break. Obviously when we’re not racing, I act like a normal person. On different holidays where you can’t eat what you like, you have to eat what is available and sometimes that may not be the healthiest food.
On weekends, we travel with our own chef. The kitchen is always filled with the same people here and they know exactly our eating habits on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They know when we have to eat. For example, on Sunday, maybe the race is at 2 or 3 and we have lunch around 10:30 am. It is a more controlled environment and not much freedom for ourselves.
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