“Anything in particular you’re looking for?”
“Yes. Do you have an Alguersuari cap?”
*Insert confused looks here.*
For three years, that has been part of my unusual exchanges with shop assistants whenever I go inside the Grand Prix merchandise stores during the F1 Night Races I’ve attended. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t trolling them or anything, I’m genuinely a fan of Jaime and I really did want to own a cap of his. It just amused and bemused me how unaware the shop assistants were of him amidst all the Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton and Raikkonen merchandise. Blame it on my “hipster/I don’t go with the flow and like the usual drivers” mentality. Part of me wanted to ask people who didn’t know him, “Why don’t you know just how… talented he is?!”
Much like the “Sebastian Vettel phenomenon”, I also took an immediate liking to Alguersuari when he first came into Formula One. He looked fast. He looked spunky. He looked as if he was born ready to race. And yes, he had those hypnotizing blue eyes. He used to be the youngest driver to start in F1 at 19 years and 125 days. I remember a friend asking me back in 2010 which Spanish racer I’d like to meet and I replied with, “Jaime Alguersuari. I’d like to shake the hand of the youngest-ever F1 driver!”
I’ve seen him race several times but sadly, never got to meet him in person. Never mind, he’s still young, there’s still plenty of opportunities, I told myself. When he was pushed out of the sport in 2012, I was disappointed by his treatment, I felt he deserved better. I was excited when he returned to racing through Formula E. I wanted him to do well and to show F1 teams just what they’re missing.
But things didn’t quite work out just as I imagined.
Recently, Alguersuari announced his retirement from all forms of motorsport. At the age of 25. He said he has “fallen out of love”.
That was quite a statement. I was completely shocked and thrown sideways.
So what happens when you get over a dream? You carry on and chase another. We often praise people for doggedly going after things despite numerous setbacks, but sometimes we also have to give credit to those who are brave enough to admit that they’re giving up and moving on.
While a lot of his fans may be sad and disappointed over his decision, only Jaime knows what his heart truly wants and if it does not include motorsport anymore then we’re just going to have to accept and respect that.
Let’s just be grateful that he was once part of Formula One. He is and will always be part of F1 history anyway and nobody can ever take that away from him.
He is young, he is massively talented, and he’s got the whole world ahead of him. The only way to go is up.
He will always be a “Bouncebackable Racer” for me, maybe not on-track anymore but in life as a whole.
So don’t feel sorry for him. Jaime Alguersuari will be just fine.