[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] FERNANDO ALONSO: SHIFTING PRIORITIES

2018 is a decisive year for Fernando Alonso in Formula 1. The two-time F1 World Champion is still at his best, his pass on Sebastian Vettel in China a key example. And he’s busier than ever.

Alonso racing not only in F1’s equal-longest 21-race calendar, but also in the eight-event World Endurance Championship super-season.

… which many see as a potential prelude to a switch to sportscars from 2019, the Spaniard already confirmed to do the next two Le Mans races.

SOUNDBITE (English) FERNANDO ALONSO,
2-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“Well, I think the motivation behind joining this project is just how amazing are those cars, and how amazing it will be to race in the World Endurance Championship, and especially two times Le Mans, one in 2018, one in 19.”

Alonso has allegedly been on the cusp of a WEC switch since 2016, the Spaniard a keen follower of his friend, Mark Webber’s career at Porsche – during McLaren’s dark days with Honda.

But for Alonso, the fire still burns bright for LMP1 cars, and a shot at the Triple Crown, which includes the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans.

SOUNDBITE (English) FERNANDO ALONSO,
2-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“A dream come true. One of the most iconic races in motorsport calendar, with one of the best teams in the world, with one of the most sophisticated cars in the world, so I cannot wait.”

The only thing holding Alonso back is unfinished business in F1, with the Spaniard invested in McLaren – and the team finally hoping to be able to challenge Red Bull Racing for the podium later this year.

McLaren, though, see his WEC-jaunt as more motivation than distraction.

SOUNDBITE (English) ERIC BOULLIER,
RACING DIRECTOR, McLAREN:
“To see him smiling in the morning, it’s seriously the best reward that we can have after a long winter. And I know the more busy he is, the best fit he is, and the more eager to win he will be.”

But with Alonso reportedly keen to return to America in 2019 for another shot at the Indy 500, his workload outside of F1 is mounting, and with that comes shifting priorities.

SOUNDBITE (English) FERNANDO ALONSO,
2-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“I won two world championships. To drive around Monaco for a seventh place, a sixth place, even a fifth place. To be here is not possible to compare that thing, you know.”