Toyota unconcerned over Alonso’s absence

Date published: February 21 2018

Toyota have said they have “no concerns” over Fernando Alonso missing the WEC Prologue test, which clashes with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Spaniard will miss the opportunity to drive the Toyota TS050 Hybrid in traffic ahead of the WEC season opener in Spa, but Toyota Motorsport boss Pascal Vasselon has said Alonso has also shown his experience with traffic in the LMP2 car.

“He will be less experienced in traffic than his team-mates and Spa will be his first experience of this in our car,” Vasselon told Autosport.

“But he has already learnt about this at Daytona, so we have no concerns about this.

“He understands what endurance is about and what his duties are.”

Alonso has been taking part in another endurance test in Portugal this week and is grateful about how welcoming the rest of the team has been to him.

“The atmosphere in the team is amazing,” Alonso said.

“From the first day everyone was very friendly with me: we have a WhatsApp group in which we are constantly chatting.”

McLaren’s 2019 driver line-up a ‘jackpot’

Date published: February 17 2018

The 2018 season isn’t even underway and already McLaren are being asked about next year’s line-up, which Zak Brown says is like “flicking the jackpot.”

This year McLaren will race Fernando Alonso, after the Spaniard re-signed in a multi-year contract, and Stoffel Vandoorne while Lando Norris is their official reserve driver.

Norris is keen to prove to McLaren this season that he deserves a race-seat, however, acknowledges that his path may be determined by Alonso and what he wants to do in 2019.

Either way, Brown reckons it is a “luxury situation” for McLaren to be in.

“There are a variety of different scenarios and it is like flicking the jackpot – it could be this, or this or that,” Crash.net quotes Brown as having said.

“We know what the scenarios are but we haven’t set any expectations yet because you would be predicting too early what you think might happen.

“We’re in a great position where we have three great drivers and two seats which is a luxury situation to be in so we will see how things go before figuring out what the future looks like.”

Last season Alonso won McLaren’s intra-team battle by 17 points to 13.

It was, however, in qualifying where he was most dominant as he put his MCL32 ahead of Vandoorne on 16 Saturdays.

Brown, though, reckons Vandoorne did well taking on the challenge that of Alonso’s ‘superstar’ status.

“They get equal treatment. Alonso gets a lot more of the publicity that doesn’t translate into any different effort in the garage from the engineers.

“Sometimes when you’ve got one part it will go to your more experienced driver. I don’t think that is any different to any other team. They have equal chance.

“I try to move around from garage to garage because I am sensitive to Fernando being such a superstar that you want Stoffel to know he’s got every bit as much support, which he does, but he handles it really well as he is very mature and never shows any signs or comments of that.

“I think he’s in a good place and is very headstrong.”

Alonso teases new 2018 helmet design

Date published: February 17 2018

New season, new engine, new hope so why not a new helmet design for Fernando Alonso?

The double World Champion has taken to Instagram to tease his fans with sneak peaks of his new Bell helmet.

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BfLstY-l8CR/” data-instgrm-version=”8″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”>

<p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BfLstY-l8CR/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>@bellhelmetseurope getting ready…..????????????????????????#bestHelmet #bellhelmets</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/fernandoalo_oficial/” style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;” target=”_blank”> Fernando Alonso</a> (@fernandoalo_oficial) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2018-02-14T15:51:47 00:00″>Feb 14, 2018 at 7:51am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //www.instagram.com/embed.js

This season Alonso’s McLaren MCL33 will be powered by Renault with the team hoping that it will be the start of a fight-back that yields podiums, and maybe even race wins.

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BfOM398Ftss/” data-instgrm-version=”8″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”>

<p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BfOM398Ftss/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>@bellhelmetseurope . #FAcolors #bellhelmets</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/fernandoalo_oficial/” style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;” target=”_blank”> Fernando Alonso</a> (@fernandoalo_oficial) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2018-02-15T15:11:20 00:00″>Feb 15, 2018 at 7:11am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //www.instagram.com/embed.js

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BfOcuM9l0U6/” data-instgrm-version=”8″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”>

<p style=” margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;”> <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BfOcuM9l0U6/” style=” color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;” target=”_blank”>@bellhelmetseurope . Part3. #FAcolors #bellhelmets #asturias #españa</a></p> <p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”>A post shared by <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/fernandoalo_oficial/” style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;” target=”_blank”> Fernando Alonso</a> (@fernandoalo_oficial) on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2018-02-15T17:29:48 00:00″>Feb 15, 2018 at 9:29am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> //www.instagram.com/embed.js

Could you be driven by Alonso or Verstappen?

Date published: February 15 2018

Formula 1 fans could be driven around the track by Fernando Alonso or Max Verstappen after McLaren and Aston Martin signed up to a new initiative.

The Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps programme will see fans, celebrities and guests be driven in a supercar ahead of 10 races in the 2018 season, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Pirelli will be setting up a unique garage to showcase the supercars and supply the tyres as Formula 1 drivers burn some extra rubber before Sunday’s races.

Aston Martin will be showing off the 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged, V8-powered Vantage while McLaren are set to unleash the 720S, which could also be driven by double World Champion and McLaren ambassador Mika Hakkinen.

Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 said: “The Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps programme represents a new opportunity to allow Formula 1 fans to get closer to a real track experience.

“The once in a lifetime experience of being driven at speed by a racing driver at iconic race circuits in dream cars is truly unique. We are seeking to be fan first and this is yet another example of our efforts to that end. This also is a demonstration of our capabilities to provide more value to valued partners like Pirelli and the Formula 1 teams.”

Fans may remember Lewis Hamilton giving Usain Bolt the fright of his life back at the United States Grand Prix last season.

Alonso names preferred candidates for 2018

Date published: February 14 2018

Fernando Alonso has named the two drivers who he would most like to see win this year’s World title, and it is not much of a surprise.

Without putting his own name forward, the double World Champion was asked by AS to choose a driver to win the world championship.

He replied: “[Stoffell] Vandoorne.”

Asked for another not in his team, he said: “Carlos [Sainz], obviously.”

Okay, so a non-team-mate non-Spanish driver?

“I don’t know, I don’t have any preference,” he said.

As for whether Lewis Hamilton winning again, told that a fifth for the Mercedes driver would be ‘incredible for F1’, Alonso replied: “Right now, yes, because he won last year, but two years ago it could have been Rosberg, who ended as champion.

“And a few years ago, someone else. I don’t know.”

Alonso: I’ll say the same thing, I’ll win this year

Date published: February 14 2018

Having proclaimed last year in Baku that he will be a winner in 2018, Fernando Alonso hasn’t backed down on that, he’s just a bit more cautious.

Swapping to Renault for this year’s championship, expectations are on the up for McLaren.

The team is determined to put the last three wretched years with Honda firmly in the past and mount a challenge for podiums, and perhaps even race wins.

But while Alonso wants to win, races and the title, he acknowledges that sometimes F1 throws in obstacles that you cannot anticipate.

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Alonso told Spanish newspaper AS when about last year’s bullish prediction.

“People will have to wait and see if they drag those declarations out again or not; I don’t care.

“I said I was going to win and I’ll say the same thing, that I’ll win this year.”

He added: “We’re going to be much more competitive. I don’t know how much. 

“Last year Red Bull looked like they were going to be strong due to the change in the rules and yet they had a slow start.

“[Max] Verstappen was forced to abandon a few races, they had less laps than us halfway through the year and for the expectations on Red Bull, that’s a big blow.

“You always get asked if you are going to have a car…. but if you start badly, it’s a huge comedown so we can’t anticipate anything. 

“What I can say is that expectations are higher now than they have been during the past three years. 

“The atmosphere at the factory is more positive, everyone is determined to go that extra bit further because we all want to be much more competitive and I think we will be.”

Alonso to debut McLaren-Renault MCL33

Date published: February 13 2018

Fernando Alonso will have the honour of debuting McLaren’s new MCL33, handed the driving duties for the first day of pre-season testing.

The double World Champion will take to the Barcelona circuit on February 26 as testing gets underway at the Circuit de Catalunya.

He will then alternate days with his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, as both spend two of the four days behind the wheel.

McLaren will launch their new Renault-powered car on February 23.

And Alonso cannot wait for it all to begin.