We wish Fernando Alonso a happy 32nd birthday today. Unfortunately, that means the Ferrari driver is another year closer to the end of his career instead of the start.
From a World Championship standpoint, that might be a death sentence. If Alonso fails to wrest the crown from Sebastian Vettel this year, 2014 will mark 10 years since a driver in his 30s has won the title.
Michael Schumacher was 35 when he won his fifth consecutive, and seventh overall, World Championship in 2004. Since then, it’s been a young man’s title domain: Alonso set records at 24 and 25 in 2005 and 2006, Kimi Raikkonen was 28 in 2007, Lewis Hamilton 23 in 2008, Jenson Button 29 in 2009, and Vettel 23, 24, and 25 the last three years.
So, Alonso has a lot to think about as he blows out the candles on the cake this year.
The birthday surprise that has emerged this weekend is his possibly being linked to a Red Bull move. Although, as I argued in a previous post, that would seem to make little sense for Alonso and for Red Bull on the surface.
He’s been a star of the sport since his debut back for Minardi in 2001. But time is running out for him to catch – and pass – Vettel from a World Championship standpoint.
Your play, Fernando.
Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.
Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.
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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.
“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.
“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”
The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.
Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.