Fernando Alonso is clearly a very patient man. Even at the ripe age of 38 he’s prepared to play the long game, waiting for the right opportunity to make his return to Formula 1 and claim the third world championship title his talent (but not always his circumstance) merits.
Alonso believes 2021 will present that chance, when sweeping new rules designed to transform F1 into a more egalitarian competition will come into force. Alonso has stayed sharp by using his sabbatical to race in sportscars, IndyCar and most recently the Dakar Rally.
But he is a man who craves success at the highest level. That’s why he yearns for a return to grand prix racing. And, as Fernando explains eloquently in our lengthy, no-holds-barred interview (page 42), he believes he is still the driver best equipped to take F1’s current champion down, having identified a clear chink in Lewis Hamilton’s armour.
To achieve his ambition, Alonso is banking on fundamental change within F1. As the 2020 season approaches, the same is also true of F1 Racing. In our November 2019 issue we explained the magazine, founded in 1996, was in the process of being sold.
Negotiations went on for several months, but eventually it became increasingly clear that the best outcome for the magazine and its many fans would be for us to continue operating inside Motorsport Network, whose stable also includes Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport Images. Consequently, February 2020 will be the final edition of the magazine published under the F1 Racing banner. Next month, F1 Racing will be rebranded and become Grand Prix Racing.
This is an important and necessary step to secure the magazine's future and safeguard our coverage of F1, bolstered by exciting new opportunities to grow our presence in digital and social media.
The magazine was put up for sale because making a viable business out of print publishing is becoming increasingly difficult. The licence fee we were required to pay to Formula 1 simply to exist as F1 Racing was a major part (though not all) of the reason for that struggle.
This simple name change will allow us to spread our wings a little more freely, while maintaining the magazine’s position as a leading independent editorial voice at the pinnacle of motor racing. The way things were headed, it would not have been sustainable for us to continue reporting on Formula 1 in this way without significantly increasing the price of the magazine, substantially reducing the physical quality of the product, or sacrificing its editorial independence.
So, we have decided on a new name for a new season. From March 5, look out for Grand Prix Racing, and please keep reading.