Fernando Alonso wins the Le Mans 24 Hours – Indy 500 next but at the expense of F1?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jun 2018   |  5:31 pm GMT  |  369 comments

Fernando Alonso fulfilled a dream today by winning the Le Mans 24 hours with Toyota and in the process completed the second leg of his quest to win the “triple crown” of Monaco GP, Le Mans and Indianapolis 500.

Only Graham Hill has managed the feat and that was completed in 1972, almost fifty years ago.

So what will he do now? Will his focus be entirely on completing his quest and could that mean calling time on his F1 career?

The Spaniard, who will be 37 next month, picked up his first international race win since May 2013 at the WEC race in Spa this season and backed it up with the Le Mans win, partnered with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

He celebrated 300 Grand Prix in Canada is approaching 100 Grands Prix without a win. With little prospect of a race win in F1 on the horizon, as McLaren lag well behind the other Renault powered cars, let alone the Ferrari and Mercedes works teams, will he quit F1 to focus on the Indy 500 in May 2019 or will he seek to combine the event with an F1 calendar?

Last year the race did not clash. This year it did. The 2019 race calendars have not been set but in Monaco the promoters of the leading FIA championships met to look at scheduling for 2019. IndyCar was not part of that meeting but clearly this potential clash will be one that F1 will be keen to avoid.

The World Endurance Championship changed its schedule this year to accommodate Alonso who is doing the WEC championship as well as F1. Alonso is committed to the ‘super season’ which takes in two Le Mans 24 hours and features races next March at Sebring and Spa in May.

Nigel Mansell quit F1 for IndyCar in 1993 and won the championship first time out, including wins on long and short ovals. It would be tricky for Alonso to fit in with their schedule, less so if he were just doing WEC and not F1.

This year the IndyCar schedule featured one short oval race at Phoenix prior to the month of May at Indianapolis.

Alonso is sure to go for the Indy 500 win with all gone blazing now and it will be interesting to see whether McLaren are the team to enter him.

Last time he ran with Honda engines, but since he split with them at the end of last season, the irony of winning Le Mans with Toyota will not be lost on Honda senior management and is a considerable coup for Toyota, who picked up their first Le Mans win after many years of trying.

It’s worth noting that Juan Pablo Montoya is also on two of the three legs of the Triple Crown, although he has not made much fuss about it being a quest. He won Monaco and the Indy 500 and was racing at Le Mans this year, but not in a race win eligible car. Ironically he was driving for the United Autosports team of Zak Brown, who is Alonso’s boss at McLaren F1 team.

JPM will no doubt be back in 2019, but as Toyota has a strangle hold again next season, he’ll probably be waiting for the new 2020 regulations for a genuine challenge. Alonso may have cracked Indy by then.


Historic Le Mans win

Alonso won the race in Toyota #8 car, beating the #7 car in the process. The Spaniard played his part with an exceptional night-time stint. He dragged the car – which had been two minutes down on the other Toyota – back onto its tail with a quadruple stint in the night.

The #8 car took the lead as Nakajima passed Kobayashi and the #7 car dropped after Kamui Kobayashi cost his crew the chance to win when he stayed out instead of pitting. He had to reduce speed for part of his next lap,as he was marginal on fuel.

Although critics will argue that this was an easy win, with both Audi and Porsche withdrawing from WEC and Le Mans in the last two seasons, Alonso (and history) will not care about that. It is another debut win for an F1 driver, following Nico Hulkenberg’s 2015 victory with Porsche.

“Alonso has come and conquered Le Mans, along with his team-mates, and not put one foot wrong as we’ve seen all through the race,” said nine times Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.

“I think he also sees the chance to be world [endurance] champion, which means he will continue to drive until Le Mans next year – and I think he will do that.

“I would not predict that he stops in F1, but he’ll definitely be back at the Indy 500. Maybe he’ll do a full season.”

What do you think Alonso will do next season? Complete our poll and leave your comment in the section below


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1
Chris Sturgeon

Triple Crown. So what?
So Fernando won Monaco years ago and now a win at Le Mans is manufactured for him that he shares with two young F1 rejects. Next year he might win something in America that the average person’s never heard of.
I think that Fernando is one of the greatest talents on track but his ability to pick a team is lamentable. He chose McLaren where he had problems before instead of hanging on and driving Vettel’s car and challenging for a third championship that would mean a lot more than some cobbled together ‘achievement’.

2

I’m very sorry to say I see no reason for FA to remain in F1.

He’s not going to get a car that will even remotely give him a chance to be competitive, let alone win another driver’s championship, and slithering around at the back of the mid-field is hardly where he will want to be…

…he’s got his Le Mans win, so it’s off to IndyCar for the practice and any victories he can pick up along the way next year until he wins the ‘500. The only question is if the car he does it has the McLaren mane on it? I wouldn’t be surprised if he throws his lot in with a front-running team.

While I’m not the greatest FA fan I do think the last few years have been a terrible waste of his talent and his premature departure will be a sad loss for F1.

3

What an awesome talent squandered in underperforming car in recent years. Vaguely reminiscent of Senna in the underpowered McLaren in 1993 although without the miraculous results that Senna realised. If he can’t get a front line drive in F1 pursuit of the Indy 500 is likely to be a given. His legacy will parallel Hill Snr hopefully (2 WDC ,Monaco champion even if not as many times, LM champion and conqueror of Indianapolis) He will take a while to adapt to Ovals with the different approach and technique. He is constitutionally the type of driver who will be fast reliable and able to adapt to the new environment. What team wouldn’t sell it’s soul to add him to it’s driver roster. Fernando has had a stellar career driving the wheels off of every car that he has been dropped into. Without doubt he hasn’t made every professional decision a winner but he was inspiring in even the least of F1 machinery. Go to Indy and Godspeed Fernando.

4

Toyota won the same way Mercedes won last 4 years. By having no credible opposition.

5

2017 called, wants to have a word.

6

However I didn’t see any non-F1 driver demanding HAMs seat in the Merc for an easy win to fulfill a bucket list item

7

Triple crown, part deux… Et maintenant, l’Indy 500! Allons-y, Alonso! I like the laurel wreaths, look classy. They ought to re-introduce them in Formula 1.

8

Seriously who cares about this triple crown

Wait…….alonso does.

9

I think the triple crown only means nothing to people with no Motorsport history. I certainly remember my father talking about it when I was a kid, talking about drivers like Hill, Andretti, Moss, etc, who all competed in multiple series simultaneously.

It only fell out “style” during the Bernie era, the era where most F1 fans were encouraged to look down on any other form of racing.

10

Back in your daddy’s day WEC and IndyCar had some sort of credibility. These days people only take notice when an F1 driver is bored and decides to boost his bruised ego and “have a go” to project a false legacy.

11

Axx1, do you even watch IndyCar?

12

I’m the internet warrior on a high horse, yet you’re the one going around, “back in yo daddy’s day,”…lol

I’m not the one running around the internet saying this racing series has no cred, that series has no cred….I’m simply saying YOU are not an authority on what has credibility and what doesn’t. Just because a bunch of elitist euro fanboys only watch F1, and talk down on every other series, doesn’t mean those other series are as “unworthy” as some people deem them to be.

Typical F1 fanboy can’t even stand the mention of Indy or wec without going down the “it’s not credible” route. If you don’t like it, fine, but keep that negative shit to yourself.

The original post I was responding to was “who cares”….obviously you do, because you’re in the thread commenting on the subject.

After the end of the French GP, let’s see which race provided more entertainment….Le Mans, or Paul Ricard lmao.

13

Running around the internet? I’m commenting on one website mf.

You criticize F1 but I’m not allowed to criticize WEC and IndyCar? Dream on.

I didn’t say I didn’t care about those series – I just don’t like how they demean its integrity where F1 drivers can waltz in take top drives in their showpiece events. Have you seen this in WRC or the bike series let alone F1.

F1 has its own issues but we openly lay criticism on it – I don’t see why WEC and IndyCar are exempt from it.

14

Lol and you need to explain why it has no credibility….

Is it because IndyCar lacks top tier drivers like Ericsson, Stroll, Sirotkin, Vandoorne, or Grosjean??

Is it because IndyCar doesn’t race on challenging, classic circuits like Abu Dhabi, Sochi, Bahrain, or Catalynya??

Or is it because the finishing order isn’t easily predicted by the starting order?

Or is it that more than 2-3 guys can win a race in any given weekend.

Are you seriously saying that the only aspects of Motorsport you care for are whatever Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi, Dan, and Max are doing…? You sir, are a lame fanboy

15

Regarding your credibility query:

When last did a WEC or IndyCar driver arrive at F1 race and have the red carpet rolled out for them and given their choice of race winning car for them to tick of their bucket list of winning an F1 race. Yes F1 is elitist but what worth is the triple crown if nobody but F1 drivers can get a realistic shot at it…..and why is ALO driving a procession in lower mid-field in F1 when IndyCar and WEC will gladly have him full time. Because they don’t compare to the prestige of F1 (manufactured or otherwise).

Sincerely,

F1 fanboy elitist.

16

“People only take notice”….I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were speaking for all of us. I didn’t realize that I don’t watch WEC and IndyCar, amongst other series, on the regular.

The only people who “take notice” are elitist F1 fanboys who aren’t actually Motorsport/race fans, but are people who are fans of the hoopla of F1. You only care about F1 because other people say you should care about F1, and you only shit on other series because other people say you should.

Classic elitist F1 d-bag 😛

17

Strange comment…..you get offended by a generalisation made by me yet you respond with a generalisation of how “F1 elitists fanboys” think…..

Get off your high horse internet warrior – you are not the authority of motorsport. You’re just another d-bag like the ones you surround yourself with.

18

The Indy 500 will be a tougher nut to crack than he thinks. Yes, he did very well on his initial outing, running towards the front late in the race. But there were still 20 laps to go when he dropped out. Those last 20 laps were the “gloves off” kind of racing he didn’t get to experience…

19

Exactly. He was already dropping off from Sato and Chilton (those fearsome drivers) by then, and had little chance of winning at that time.

20

@ Steve W he was running in front during the latter stages of the race…that’s exactly where you need to be if you are going to take the flag. Obviously it will be tough but then again Alonso is a tough character and he’s gutsy enough to put it all on the line and give it his best shot. Admirable really. Would Hazmilton/Vettel take this on? I think not.

21

I have a feeling RBR will prosper with Honda

22

Sack Zak

23

Alonso just a disgrace for F1. Liberty should distance themselves from this guy as fast as thy can. One illustrating point about how this person operates i Singapore 2008, as been pointed put already here, many times. But one could bring up many cases. One can only hope he’s not in F1 next season. I hope McLaren will recover, but this man is toxic so better change that lineup.

24

I’m happy for Alonso’s Le Man triumph. The 2nd half of his F1 career has been an unmitigated disaster, but this allows him to gracefully bow out of F1 instead of leaving with his tail between his legs.

25

A lot of Alonso hate from people who have zero driving skill. Hope he goes indy racing next year and bags the triple to really annoy the haters.

26

Sheesh. By your logic, none of us should criticise governments, you know, becaause we aint governing. Alonso was the biggest cry baby in the sport. He deserves everything he got. For substantiation see the Singapore Crash Fest of yore.

27

He’s already bagged the Triple Clown

28

Wow.

A whole 24 hours & not once did we hear “LMP2 car. LMP2”

Credit where it is due though, Alonso did tell journalists they were on the wrong side of the garage because Nakajima set the Pole & set the car up, so they should be interviewing him.

29

I would have voted F1+Indy 500 but it’s not in the list. Does he already have a WEC contract for next year?

30

He does, although it wouldn’t surprise me if he dropped out of a chunk of the WEC now he’s won Le Mans.

31

@ Andrew M…I doubt that will happen. The WEC itself carries a WC title and Alonso’s team are already heading that championship. Hopefully he can continue winning and take the silver home. He deserves it, even just for the fact that he is a races racer, fully committed to his craft.

32

Where’s the option for “Who cares”??

33

I can think of no credible reason why he would remain in F1 and do nothing more than make up the numbers…an also ran.

34

I can think of 40 million credible reasons.

35

Comment deleted

36

Williams was a much superior car that year.

37

Random, as Andrew and TimW points out, then Villeneuve did indeed have several titles, among others: Won the 1995 CART Championship, the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and the 1997 Formula One World Championship. Not a small feat and most motorsports fans care about that, no matter if they like him as a person/driver or not!

38

Cyber, the now deleted comment wasn’t from the real Random 79. Someone keeps using his screen id and posting ridiculous comments. Sad really.

39

Villeneuve had one title Fake Random.

Emerson Fittipaldi would be a better analogue for me.

40

Fake Random, Jacques has one title, and lits of people care about that. Fernando is in my view far superior to Villeneuve, and will be remembered as an all time great. Someone who can’t even come up with his own user name, not so much…..

41

What’s with all the Alonso hate? I think it’s great that he’s taking on the triple crown challenge. Fair enough you could argue he had it easy at Le Mans but on the other hand there had been many a Grand Prix, even seasons where one team has had it easy. Alonso will always be an icon of F1, and remembered for getting decent results from cars that were far from perfect. It’s a crying shame for F1 that the McLaren move has yet to yield any successes for him, and it would be a travesty if he were to walk away from the sport without one last hurrah.

42

I would love to see Hamilton v Alonso for the title in F1 again. I honestly believe that Fernando would’ve been much closer with the 2017 Ferrari than Vettel, or even won.

Though there is another part of me that wonders whether age isn’t already taking its toll on his quickness. A bit like how McLaren said they had a great car last year, but now we know that was a load.

It looks increasingly like Red Bull will take the Honda engines. If they do well with them – and you would have to suspect that they’ve done their homework – then that will sting both Alonso and McLaren very hard. Alonso didn’t want to re-sign with McHonda, so he was a definite factor in them ditching that valuable works relationship. There’s no doubt that a strong Red Bull Honda will lead to fingers being pointed in Alonso’s direction. I’m not sure he would like to be around for that.

43

A few people, around 1000 more or less, not to mention fans, would probably want some other things to be reported than this ridiculous endeavors to inflate even more this one individual, that has not contributed much to the development of the McLaren car, or it’s partners. today or for tomorrow. That is what it seems. At least some people would see some other engagement, from the ones responsible, that could lead to a steady improvement of the car, not a steady, or in worst case a dramatic decline. Some would say we’re already there and someone needs to take the reins and make big changes, as well some people need to take responsibility for this disaster.

44

Alonso couldn’t get into the Mecedes with no opposition so he went to WEC Toyota. At least he now knows how Lewis has felt after all those wins.

45

I guess the option “Who cares” was deliberately not added on the poll as it would have won the poll hands down.

46

my thoughts exactly

47

Yeah, thank god it never happened in F1. Can you imagine a F1 season when only 2 cars can win!

48
On the marbles

Any car could win in f1 if the team built it good enough and have a good driver, the fact that one team just does it better than the others is just hard work and luck. The difference between f1 and we is that the latter actually have put rules in place forcing the less competitive lmp1 privateer cars to pit more often and run a risk of a penalty for lapping faster than the Toyota hybrids; that’s where the analogy with f1 kinda falls down.

49

Jb, no I can’t, because it has never happened.

50

I believe 1950 was like this if you discount the Indy 500…

51

I think 1988 was the closest season ever where any team in F1 were the closest to make what you call ‘a perfect season’. But Prost/Senna in their McLaren/Honda’s missed out to win in the Italian GP that year, which Berger did in his Ferrari making all the Tifosi go completely wild as it was the first race just after Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI Enzo Ferrari had just passed away.

52

The World Endurance Championship changed its schedule this year to accommodate Alonso…

Just think about this for a moment, WEC …changed the schedule to accommodate Alonso…

Now, way to go Fernando, on fishing with dynamite, truly extraordinary, exceptional accommodation and facilitation to race on one of the two cars of the only real constructor left in LMP1, thus effectively at least a 50:50 chance of winning.

Has there EVER been anybody who got such support and facilitation to go to one of two cars that would 99% certainly win the race?!?!?!

It’s just incredible the ‘help’ that this guy gets to get his win! It’s almost unbelievable!

I’m truly in awe at his ability, not the ability to drive a car, but his ability to get so much, some might say, ‘overwhelming’ amount of assistance from the ‘powers that be’ to enable him on this goal!

It’s truly astounding!

Clearly his path to ‘legend’ is not inside F1, and he should focus his attention and, what can only be described as phenomenal ability to get backers and tilt the playing field in his favour for Indy, and supporting that bid with his own commitment, to these, ‘facilitators’, he should drop out of F1 right now, and drive the rest of the Indy year, and continue next year to the 500.

Just imagine, alone, choosing to pick up an Indy drive at will, and getting right into it, at your whim!?!?

It’s almost too much to believe how this guy has his way paved out before him!

But, anyway, way to go getting your own fish dinner, Alonso.

53

I get your point, but let’s be honest – any F1 world champ is simply going to walk into any racing series anywhere in the world if they want, let alone a double F1 world champ who is regularly called the best on the grid. Besides the talent they bring, they also bring coverage and hype.

55

Sebee, that’s funny because you used to bore everyone to tears about how amazing Indycar is, and how the fall in Grand Prix tv ratings was proof of how terrible F1 is.

56

If the “triple crown” means so much to him then I wish him well. I just don’t think it means very much to anyone else.

57

Now even the staff at McLaren are starting to feel enough is enough. And it’s not hard to understand that frustration. McLaren is being humiliated, for some time, but now when all the smokescreens are down, it’s plain for all to see how bad it is. Revolt from within is probably the worst you can imagine as a company not to mention a team. But finally, it may be just about time for someone to do or say something, to begin with. And it’s not the leaders, but the staff, working day and night I presume to make things happen. So what are the McLaren leaders doing for the moment for example. They have their eye’s and attention pointed altogether at a different direction. They do their favorite driver all the promo games he’d desire, wether it’s this or that, inflated as he’s already been, in a naive belief this will lead to something, other than harm to the team. Let’s see if someone higher up the hierarchy will do some changes soon. At the moment there is not much between Macca and Williams but with one difference, budget. Hugh difference in that department. Maybe they should fire their overpaid driver to begin with and begin from there.

58

Former team boss Martin Whitmarsh has offered to step in amid a reported staff revolt at McLaren.

The Daily Mail reports that some McLaren staff, upset about the great British team’s current troubles even after the end of the Honda era, have put together a delegation that is reaching out to Whitmarsh.

Whitmarsh stepped down as McLaren team boss in 2014, after 25 years with the Woking outfit.

“People at McLaren said they would send me a letter about the situation. I told them not to send it to me, but to (team shareholder) Mansour (Ojjeh),” Whitmarsh confirmed.

It is believed the disgruntled staff are upset about Eric Boullier’s leadership following the latest performance slump, and Zak Brown’s forays into the worlds of Le Mans and Indycar.

“I love the team and I am desperately sad to see what it has become,” Whitmarsh continued.

“It needs a big change of approach. There is too much politics between the main figures. I think a number of them have to go.

“I have explained my view to Mansour and it is for the shareholders to decide what to do.”

Whitmarsh suggested he is siding with those staff who think that Brown in particular is spreading McLaren’s interests too far beyond the F1 paddock.

“The team used to be all about winning in formula one,” he said. “McLaren going in (another) direction, rather than making grand prix racing their sole priority, makes me shudder.”

Whitmarsh said it was the departure of Tim Goss that pushed him “over the edge” in support of a revolt.

“He was scapegoated,” he said.

“If a delegation showed up at my door, I wouldn’t turn them away,” Whitmarsh added. “They know where I am.”

59

The hard truth is that the rot didn’t set in at McLaren under Bollier or Brown: McLaren hasn’t been a winning force in 10 years, a period in which Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh were the top bosses. If anything, McLaren is dealing with the fallout of their decisions. Blaming Boullier and Brown smacks of blaming the firemen for trying to put out the fire.

McLaren has no more right to success than Lotus, Tyrrell, or Cooper. All three, in various ways, failed to adapt as the sport changed around them. Like dinosaurs, they went extinct. If anything, McLaren looking outside of F1 will protect them from a similar fate.

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