Fernando Alonso will contest his last race in Formula 1 at Abu Dhabi this weekend, although the McLaren driver claims he’s not ruled out a return in 2020.
Claims that it might be over for Alonso in F1 is a little hard to believe but equally should the unlikely scenario occur and an offer come from a top team, who knows. History does tell us however that this doesn’t always work out. Schumacher and Mansell being prime examples.
So for 2019, the only confirmed drives from Alonso is with McLaren at the Indy 500, but unlike last time the team will be standing alone with it’s Chevy engine, and not be an extra car to an existing setup. Alonso was not far off winning the race in 2017 driving a McLaren liveried Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda.
Ex Force India boss Bob Fernley has recently been confirmed as being the man to lead the McLaren team at Indy with Alonso, and rumours hint toward a possible full season from McLaren in 2020.
The second half of the so called WEC ‘Super Season’, will continue to be the other driving commitment for Alonso, racing for Toyota and no doubt aiming for another Le Mans 24 hours victory to add to the 2018 win.
It’s obvious that despite these commitments, Alonso’s spare time will increase massively over 2018 due to the dropping of F1 from his itinerary. So many beg the question, what’s’ next?
It’s been well documented that Formula E boss Alejandro Agag has been targeting Alonso for a race seat in the next season, due to start in Saudi Arabia on the 15th December this year.
Rather interestingly, Auto Motor und Sport have been reporting that Nissan e.Dams have offered Alonso a Formula 1 sized salary to join them, partnering Sebastian Buemi and taking the seat originally destined for British Thai driver Alexander Albon.
Albon is thought to be headed toward Toro Rosso, partnering Daniil Kyvat rather than taking the offer from Nissan in Formula E.
So what do you think? Should Alonso try his hand at Formula E? His mantra has always been to prepare well for any new challenge, and if he was to do Formula E he won’t be able to test a car due to the logistics of season start.
Kimi Raikkonen tells us what he thinks of Abu Dhabi on BBC Top Gear
History of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
By TJ13 contributor Marek
Abu Dhabhi has hosted the Desert Challenge since 1991 (where infamous ex-Formula One drive Jean-Louis Schlesser (of the collided with Ayrton Senna preventing a perfect season for McLaren in 1988 fame) is the undisputed king with 6 victories.
F1 came to Abu Dhabi in 1993, the powerboat F1 championships that is, with local success fuelling the popularity of the sport, Team Abu Dhabhi are the reigning Class 1 champions!
Formula One proper arrived in 2009! A state of the art track, Yas Marina, was built on the man-made Yas island, the track design courtesy of Hermann Tilke, with the track running beneath the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi hotel, which provides a colourful backdrop as darkness falls on the race.
The race has always had a slot late in the season, with holding the final round in the championship in 2009 and 2010, and becoming the final round of the championship again from 2014 (the infamous double points race) onwards The inaugural race was the first Formula One race to be held in day and night conditions, and the event is run at dusk every year, to offer a unique challenge to the drivers as the light changes and the temperature drops.
Lewis Hamilton took the first pole position here in 2009, but Sebastian Vettel took the win, passing Hamilton in the pits before Lewis retired with brake issues. That result secured second place in the drivers championship, the title having being wrapped up before the event by Jenson Button.
For 2010, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix would see a three way fight for the title, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Mark Webber marking each other out the chance for the title and allowing Webber’s Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel to secure his first driver’s crown with a victory, despite being the long shot for the title entering the weekend (see full report below in memorable moments).
In 2011 the race was moved to the penultimate round of the calendar, but such was Sebastian Vettel’s dominance that year for Red Bull the title was already long wrapped up, with Lewis Hamilton claiming the win for McLaren after polesitter Vettel retired from a puncture on the opening lap. In 2012 the race was third from last in the season, and with all still to play for saw Kimi Raikkonen earn his first victory since returning from exile from Formula One and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso narrowly cut the lead in the championship to Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who worked his way up to third after being disqualified from qualifying (see report below in memorable moments).
In 2013 despite being the third last race on the calendar, that man Sebastian Vettel had again wrapped up the driver’s title (yawn), and would go on to win a record equalling 9th consecutive Grand Prix, coming home over half a minute ahead of his Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber (yawn!).
For 2014, Abu Dhabi paid the price to return to the final round of the season, and got itself a double points race in an attempt to guarantee the race would be a title decide.
The double points just about kept the title race alive going into the final race, with Nico Rosberg able to take the title from Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton if he could win and Hamilton finish third, but in any event Nico hit trouble and was unable to score points, with Lewis winning the title in style, and a great result for Williams, with Felipe Massa chasing Lewis all the way home in second place, and Valtteri Bottas further back completing the podium for Williams. That race saw a noteworthy effort from Daniel Ricciardo, bringing his Red Bull home in fourth after both Red Bulls were disqualified from qualifying for running an illegal front wing.