Alonso: I want to finish my career at Le Mans

1 Comment

Fernando Alonso has revealed that he wants to finish his motor racing career at Le Mans once he has retired from Formula 1.

The two-time F1 world champion has raced for Ferrari since 2010, and the Italian marque has recently been linked with a return to the premier LMP1 class at the world’s most famous endurance race.

Whether Ferrari is racing in the series or not, the Spaniard explained to NBCSN’s Will Buxton today that he plans to make a move into endurance racing once his time in F1 is up, having enjoyed the honor of starting this year’s race.

“It was a good experience,” Alonso explained. “It was a lot of passion in the race, a lot of people in the paddock, 3,000 people which is quite a lot of people when you are not anaonymous.

“It’s a good experience, a good race, and obviously to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans means a lot for any driver, and hopefully I will race there.”

Alonso said with some certainty that he will race at the Circuit de la Sarthe one day, but only once his F1 career is over.

“I will, that’s 100%. I need to wait until I finish Formula 1 probably because it requires some tests, some training, some dedication.

“I’m a person that if I do something, I do 100%, I don’t do 50-50, so first I will try to do some more years in Formula 1, try to win championships, try to help Ferrari, and then one day, of course, I cannot be seated at home in the sofa, so endurance is a category that you can race when you’re a bit older with not big problems, and that will be my intention.”

Quite whether this will be with Ferrari, Alonso is unsure. However, he did confirm that talks have been held with Ferrari president, Luca di Montezemolo, about re-entering LMP1 alongside Porsche, Audi, Toyota and – as of 2015 – Nissan.

“Maybe, to be honest, with President Montezemolo, we talk about it many times about this matter because he is very enthusiastic about the Le Mans race,” Alonso said. “He enjoys a lot the win of the 458 with [Giancarlo ]Fisichella, with [Gianmaria] Bruni this year.

“I know that there is some thinking about coming back with a big car, but the same as me, it’s not in the short term, because now we need to put in place the F1 project and we need to win here.”

Many Formula 1 drivers have moved into endurance racing once their F1 careers are up. Both Fisichella and Bruni used to race in F1, but most famously, Mark Webber (a good friend of Alonso) left the sport at the end of last season to join Porsche, and has since enjoyed a new lease of life in his racing career.

For now, his focus may lie with F1, but Alonso is clearly having thoughts about life after his career with in single seaters.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.