Jul.27 (GMM) Despite once suggesting he would quit when he won a third world title, Fernando Alonso is now setting his sights on emulating Michael Schumacher, who retired in 2006 with a record seven championships at the age of 37.
The Spaniard, who currently drives for Renault, is resigned to completing a second consecutive season this year without adding to his triumphs of 2005 and 2006.But he is determined to reside a fully competitive car in 2009, and now tells Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper that retirement is the last thing on his mind."I still love this sport," Alonso said. "The good moments are hard to forget. I can't get those feelings from anything else in life."He admits that, two or three years ago, he wondered how Schumacher kept up the energy to stay pushing for wins and titles even with hundreds of grands prix and plenty of success in the bag."I started at 19 with Minardi. Back then I was thinking that 19 or 20 years in F1 would be too many. F1 can sap your energy so I was thinking I did not want to lose my life to F1."Now my opinion has changed. I'm 26 and thinking, 'why not another 10 or 11 years?' I want more success and I'm ready to spend the time needed to get that success back," Alonso added.He also insists that, despite his imploded relationship at McLaren last year alongside Lewis Hamilton, his own feelings about Britain generally have not changed."I like the culture and the respect that the (British) people have for famous people," said Alonso, who lived in Oxford during his Renault days, and learned to speak English as a 17-year-old in F3000."(In Oxford) I could walk about the street without being disturbed. For sure people recognised me, but it was never intrusive. I like this mentality, this approach to life," he added.