Fernando Alonso misses a chance to win Le Mans

porsche le mans

Fernando Alonso has endured one of the worst starts to a season in his Formula one career with McLaren-Honda. He has failed to finish the last 3 races and is yet to score a single point. Such has been the Spaniard’s frustration, that during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend he let of steam across the pit to car radio when being told to conserve fuel.

Alonso accused the team of looking like amateurs.

During the period of uncertainty in 2014 over Alonso’s ongoing Formula One career, there were a number of reports suggesting Fernando would be making his way across to the WEC championships. Following Ferrari’s announcement that their driver pairing for 2015 was to be Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastien Vettel, Fernando was then spotted in the Porsche garage during the 6 hour race in Bahrain last November.

Fernando is believed to have been prevented by McLaren from competing in this weekends race in Le Mans for Woking’s road car manufacturer competitor – Porsche.

It was thought Alonso was lined up to drive in the number 19 car for Porsche, along with Nico Hulkenberg. Had the double F1 world champion been allowed to do so, he would now along with Hulkenberg be a winner of the most famous race of them all.

Speaking this weekend about the 24 hour race, the McLaren driver believes the cars compare more favourably with drivers than do the current iteration of F1 cars.

“The cars are quite attractive from a driver’s point of view because the technology there is the top,” he said. “You drive within 0.3s [per lap] for two hours and three stints. Being able to drive the same car for two hours is something we have forgotten in Formula One for the last couple of years.”

“I enjoyed it a lot last year. The atmosphere seems more relaxed and more open to people. The event is huge, maybe it doesn’t have the repercussions of a Formula One race, but it is bigger than any one Formula One race.”

Fernando is one of the most political of the current crop of Formula One drivers, and his comments usually are intended to send a message to someone.

Clearly Alonso’s MP4-30 is not the apple of his eye and unless McLaren-Honda begin to demonstrate competitiveness, the Spaniard’s comments may spark fresh rumours that his F1 career is over.

46 responses to “Fernando Alonso misses a chance to win Le Mans

  1. Had the double F1 world champion been allowed to do so, he would now along with Hulkenberg be a winner of the most famous race of them all.

    You missed out a ‘probably’, or ‘almost certainly’, there.
    It’s always possible that he could have binned it.

    Pretty special night stint from the Hulk.

  2. Well, that’s the ‘Triple Crown’ done for 2015.

    •F1 Monaco GP – Rosberg, Mercedes
    Three time winner

    •IndyCar Indy 500 – Montoya, Penske Chevrolet
    Two time winner

    •WEC 24hrs of Le Mans – Hulkenberg / Tandy / Bamber, Porsche
    First time win for drivers; record 17 times for Porsche

    Porsche really dominated this weekend, both qualifying and the race. I am happy a currently active F1 driver was part of winning the race, and in particular happy it was Nico Hulkenberg. Somehow he’s missed a top drive in F1, thus he hasn’t won a GP, but winning this historic race on debut will go a long way to filling that hole.

    If I were him, either a top F1 drive comes, or WEC it is.

      • I was impressed by the speed of repair from the Audi crew, a +150mph shunt,destroyed the front and rear crash structures and limped back to the pits..then a 4min repair job complete with duct tape and they are outa there

      • I’m going to go back and check out all the data in depth, laps led, etc, just because that’s who I am.

        But just as a superficial sort of a comment, I felt that Porsche – with two cars no less – had it in hand for the majority of the race. When I combine that superficial observation with Porsche’s genuine qualifying domination, and the end 1-2 result, it led me to my immediate post-race comment above.

        I don’t mean they were unchallenged; I just feel they really stepped up, all weekend, and owned the event overall. It was impressive.

        • But audi played the long game during quali. They worked on race set up. Where as jani did that amazing lap with no traffic and quali set up. And when audi suddenly, in the warm up for the race, began to consistently drive 3:18, there was a light panic at porsche. And for the first six hours or so in the race it was mainly audi in the lead, Through the night the #19 Porsche took the lead and stretched it out over the #7 Audi, with just 16 miles of distance separating the first four car. But from there porsche clearly was stronger

          • Ahh yes, I see your points there and definitely take them on board. Early on it could have gone AUDI’s way quite easily…

          • But since that darkness fell and the day that followed are a longer time than the period from start to darkness you’re also right. Porsche showed us a great race. The lack of entertainment value like the last couple of years was down to their opponents, audi panicked, Toyota disappointed and Nissan didn’t deliver what they promised.

      • I think so… pretty remarkable result.

        I hope there is more crossover between categories, as there once was. There’s no reason more F1 drivers can’t do a class in the 24hrs of Le Mans race, for example.

        Hulkenberg doing this has been a good start.

        • It used to be the norm until contracts tended to stop F1 drivers doing anything that could be risky outside of F1 duties, which was one reason why Kubica’s accident sent such shockwave’s (that he had been allowed to compete).

      • Oh yes, you’re right. Sorry.

        I just checked the ‘Imaginary F1 records of Narnia’.

        Don’t know how I missed that.

    • I wish to see Montoya at Le Mans, Hülkenberg at Ferrari, and Webber at Indianapolis 500 (if he wins Le Mans). Maybe one of them will complete the “Triple Crown”. Montoya is especially near since he only has to win Le Mans. I’m not sure Webber could win either…. Hulk@Indy weird. Maybe someone else will do it all…

      • Montoya is the probably the best bet to become a triple crown winner. He’d only be the second ever, after Graham Hill. He’s still clearly got some competitive years left in him, and he has form in endurance racing too. I wasn’t a fan of him when he was in F1 – with that mouth of his – but I’d be supporting him in a Le Mans race for sure. Age, kids, and miserably failing at NASCAR seems to have mellowed him a little. Hope he considers it soon…

    • It’s was mentioned that it was only due to the unexpected lower ambient temperature, that Porsche didn’t experience the battery over-heating that they expected prior to the start. This allowed them to run higher boost for long than had been predicted.
      There is an element of luck to winning any motor-race and I’m very pleased that lady luck was smiling in the Hulk and his co-drivers.

      • I was unaware of that temperature issue you mention; I will look into it. Thanks.

        I wonder though, how much longer did any ‘higher than anticipated boost’ get used for, and how much HP did it result in. I assume it didn’t apply to the full 24 hours. I wonder how meaningful to the result it was…

        Also that wouldn’t account for qualifying domination, surely.

        As for luck, I won’t bite that one. I’ll be here for days.

  3. Hulk was awesome in the dark…pity I think the (well deserved) success may only entice him away from F1 for good, why tip around in midfield when you can be winning races in ‘real’ cars!

    Agree Alonso will be even more pained by the ‘mutual decision’ with McHonda to sit out the race having seen Nico win and wonder what might have been.

    • I think Webber will be feeling pain the most. Yet another driver has come into his team and took away his spotlight….

      • He might become allergic to Germans 😉

        Hulks drive that got them from 5th to the lead was sublime, but I think the deciding factor was that Tandy followed him with an equally inspired if not even more memorable drive. Those two stints made the difference.

        • 😂😂😂…Doubt he has anything to relieve those allergies…

          I think the only part of the race that I’ve always enjoyed was the night stints. It amazes me how they’re still able to put in lap times that are within tenths of those during the day.

          Porsche truly accepted Audi’s challenge this time around.

    • Or, if Raikonnen continues to underperform, Ferrari snap him up? Would like to see what he could do in the same car as Vettel.

  4. Well done Hulk!! He is a good choice if Porsche or Audi joins F1.
    As for Alonso, no one pushed him to go to McLarens. That was his choice. I don’t know whether Alonso would have been in the No. 19 car but there is no guarantee they would have won with Alonso. Looking at the last too F1 races, at Monaco he ran into Hulkenberg and at Montreal he ran into Vettel. At most of the other races, he broke the car. So most probably he would have crashed the car at Le Mans.

    • Alonso-Hulkenberg is probably the best chance for those drivers to now win in F1, with one of the VW brands buying Red Bull. Then once Alonso is out, it would be Verstappen..

  5. I just watched the last 20 minutes, to show my 5 year old a different breed of racecar. Still for him – as with F1 – the highlight is the podium.

    Nice to see Hulkenberg and Porsche win. I’m still wondering about Volkswagen and F1. Especially now they have this engine in the Porsche which could be transferred to F1 – opposed to a Diesel.

    • Once they get rid of the stupid rules it has to be a v6 and it has to be 1.6 and all the other fixed parameters. If it would be more open it would be way more interesting for lots of manufacturers to produce engines for f1. Might even see diesel f1 cars

  6. Has formula one had a shot fired across its bow this weekend? After watching a full 24hr race featuring some of the most awe inspiring technological designed machines on this planet I believe so. The moment those cars appeared on the track last week F1 suddenly looked like a poor relative who once had a country mansion and lost it in a bad run on the horses. We had many types of kinetic recovery systems,engine sizes,aero ideas and tyre manufactures,add to this a cracking race track and again we are treated to a awe inspiring display of speed and skill. As the article suggested,what would Mr Alonso be thinking? My two cents worth, he will be seriously looking at his situation this year. He is in an under powered machine that would have difficulty inflating balloons for a kids party and corners like a drunk giraffe. He must have been watching those Porsche and Audi’s and wondering where it all went wrong,and as a fan of F1…so was I. F1 should be blasting these sports cars out of the water, they should be cornering like they are on rails and strain the eyes with their sheer good looks while stealing our hearing with their gorgeous sounds but we have a formula that doesn’t know what it is, should it be an eco series promoting earth friendly cars or should it be a fugal model and save the pennies and pounds? We need our sport to decide one way and head over there,I know we would follow as fans but all this hesitation just makes it look,and to quote Alonso, ‘like amateurs’. What we need is a 2hr sprint race featuring some of the most outrageously designed cars ever to chew tarmac,we need tyres that could grip on glass while lasting a good distance and the teams to decide whether to run a hybrid system,electrical,petrol, diesel or other. There should be refueling if you want it and aerodynamics that aren’t curbed. Let the designers have their playtime and bring back a series that is the pinnacle of Motorsport. The fans will reward the promoters by actually watching the races while the sponsors will have their exposure(250,000 fans attending this weekend). IMHO this will allow a backmarker team to create the next big idea and kill the giants in the playground and as has been seen in the past this won’t break records with cost.

    • Why do people keep insisting Alonso implied F1 looked like “amateurs” while it was fairly obvious he was talking about McLaren Honda?

    • Wait for BMW for that.
      Strong rumours that they will race from box 56 in 2018. With the aim to win the LMP1 class. Using hydrogen fuel cells and only electric drive. No classic PU at all. They are developing the concept and will enter only if they have a feeling that they will fight at the very front. This to promote new fuel cell based BMW i-models. That’s the moment F1 would really start to look outdated from a technological point of view. 2018-2020 is likely to be a breakthrough period for electric drivetrains using either batteries or fuel cells. BMW aims for fuel cells because they are easier to refill than batteries. (which is also why you will not see a BMW entry at F1 anytime soon)

      • It is the way to go, hybrid is only a stop gap using outdated technology. If ,and I really hope so, BMW have put pen to paper for this venture then the future looks pretty damn cool

  7. F1 is in real danger to loose a lot of fans to WEC! This race was great and will go into history.

    • Hilkenberg joins a select list of rookie winners at Le Mans, but the real star was Tandy who out drive Lotterer for a number of stints starting around midnight.

      • I think they were both great. Hülkenberg took the car in 5th and handed it to Tandy in the lead. Then Tandy went on to solidify it with steady 3:18’s in the night. Also worth noticing: Both Tandy and Bamber have run for years in the Porsche Carrera Cup and Porsche Super-Cup. It was a real highlight for Porsche, this.

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