Just one week ahead of the finale in Bahrain, rumours suggest a certain Spanish F1 champion may be joining the World Endurance Championship in 2018.
Following the revelation earlier this week that Fernando Alonso had visited Toyota Motorsport headquarters in Cologne for a seat fitting, the F1 champion is now being tipped for a full season race seat in the World Endurance Championship next year. Toyota refused to comment on the speculation, though according to sources close to the Japanese manufacturer, the Le Mans deal at least is confirmed and the rest of the season is under negotiation.
It is well known that Alonso wants to claim motorsport’s ‘triple crown’ of winning the Indy 500, Monaco GP and Le Mans 24 Hours, and it recently emerged that Fernando’s new contract would allow him the freedom to race at Le Mans. So to better prepare him for the challenge of the 24 hours, it has been suggested that he participate in WEC events beforehand.
“He said he is keen to do some races outside this triple crown, and there are case-by-case discussions,” said McLaren racing director, Eric Boullier when asked if Alonso could be released for some WEC events. “Obviously his main and his first focus is F1 – and that has priority. We will do everything we can to give him a competitive car and if we do this he will not race anything else.”
So while McLaren appears willing to allow Alonso to participate in ‘one-offs’ such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Le Mans 24 Hours, Boullier is of the opinion that it would be difficult if not impossible to run a dual campaign.
“I don’t think you can physically do two programmes, it is too complicated,” he said. “If you commit to two programmes it is a huge distraction”
The next big question being asked is whether Alonso will be in Bahrain next week. There have been rumours that he will be testing the TS050 in the official FIA WEC rookie test on November 19th, and while the entry list for the test has been released, the Spaniard’s name is conspicuously absent.