FIA announce two new awards for end of season prize-giving

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The FIA has announced two new awards that will be presented at the motorsport governing body’s end of season prize-giving alongside the trophies for the championships under its jurisdiction.

The FIA Personality of the Year and FIA Moment of the Year are the first awards in the history of the federation that are open to votes from non-members, with the latter being decided by fans on Facebook.

For the Personality of the Year award, permanently-accredited members of the media will each have a vote for a personality who, according to the FIA’s website “should be attributed to a living motorsport figure – a driver, a team manager, an official, a volunteer, etc., affiliated to an FIA’s championship or event and who achieved an exceptional individual or collective performance during the 2013 season.” Therefore, two members of NBCSN’s Formula One team will have a vote for this award. Each member will vote for three personalities in stage one before selecting a final choice from a shortlist of ten.

A jury comprising of many leading FIA members has selected twelve stand-out moments from the season so far (none of which come from this year’s Formula One world championship), and fans have the chance to vote for their favorite on Facebook by liking the FIA’s official page.

Brazilian F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi is pleased to see the FIA reach out to the fans via this scheme, saying: “It’s been a fantastic year of motorsport. I hope all fans and media will get involved and cast their vote.”

Fans can cast their vote by clicking here. The prize-giving gala will take place in Paris on December 6.

Plans for Alonso sports car debut in Rolex 24 gathering speed

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Plans for McLaren Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso to appear in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona are gathering speed as the two-time World Champion angles for a drive at Le Mans in 2018.

Alonso announced on Thursday he had signed a new, multi-year deal to remain with McLaren in F1, but has left the door open to continue his pursuit of the Triple Crown of Motorsport and become just the second driver in history to complete it.

Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice and made his Indianapolis 500 debut this year, retiring with an engine issue, and has made no secret of his ambition to race at Le Mans one day.

With no date clashes, the possibility exists for Alonso to race at Le Mans in 2018, potentially with Toyota in the LMP1 class following McLaren’s split with Honda.

However, Alonso could make his 24-hour race debut five months earlier, with reports emerging on Thursday that he could be in line to appear in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

First reported by Sportscar365, Alonso could be set to race for McLaren executive director Zak Brown’s team, United Autosports, at Daytona in January, with no clashes existing with his F1 commitments.

Alonso remained coy when asked about the chances of him appearing at Daytona, but admitted additional preparation for a possible Le Mans appearance would be of interest.

“For the Indy 500 it was a nice experience, I felt very competitive but it was a big challenge that I took from zero, from no testing, not any similar race before it,” Alonso said, as quoted by Reuters.

“If I want to prepare Le Mans, maybe there are other possibilities to prepare Le Mans a little bit better than I prepared the Indy 500.”

He added more about his other race program in Thursday’s pre-race Paddock Pass episode, speaking to NBCSN. “To be the best driver in the world you have to win in different series at different times. It’s possible I can compete in different races next year,” he said.

Brown said he would be happy to field Alonso at Daytona, and confirmed their pair had already loosely discussed it.

“If Fernando wants to do Daytona and we have a seat available, we would put his name on it happily,” Brown said.

“We’ve started joking around about it, and we saw where jokes got us last time,” he added, referencing the eventual entry to the Indy 500.

United Autosports will field two JS P217 cars at Daytona in January, and has already confirmed ex-F1 racer Paul di Resta, McLaren junior Lando Norris, American endurance racer Will Owen and Danish youngster Philip Hanson in seats.

McLaren reserve and 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button had been linked with a drive for United Autosports at Daytona, but Brown confirmed to Sportscar365 this was no longer an option.

“Jenson won’t be driving for us. I don’t know what he’s going to be doing,” Brown said.

“I thought he was going to be in the Penske car. Not sure what happened there.”