Maldonado unconcerned by changes to Parabolica at Monza

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Pastor Maldonado believes that the controversial changes made to the famous Parabolica corner at Monza won’t make too much of a difference when Formula 1 returns to the track for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.

The gravel run-off at Parabolica was replaced by tarmac last month in a move to improve safety at the high-speed circuit, but was met with a backlash from the F1 community. For many, the challenge of the corner had been removed as drivers would now be able to run wide without being punished.

In Maldonado’s eyes though, the change won’t make a great amount of difference for how drivers approach or take Parabolica.

“I don’t think it will make too much difference really,” the Lotus driver said. “The approach will be the same which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“Of course there is the obvious safety element which means that you have less risk if you go off.

“I think this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside.”

On the other side of the Lotus garage, Romain Grosjean believes that the changes will tempt drivers into taking more risks at Parabolica now that they have plenty of room to run wide.

“I think that now what you will see is the drivers finding the limits sooner,” Grosjean said. “We know there will not be the big gravel and crash penalty like previously.”

Both Lotus drivers will be hoping to add to the team’s total of eight points in Italy, even if Monza will play against the strengths of the E22 car.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.