Fernando Alonso, United Autosports, Daytona 24 Hours testing, 2018

Alonso 13th on the grid for Daytona 24 Hours

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Fernando Alonso qualified in 13th place for the Daytona 24 Hours. Join us tomorrow to follow the race live from 7:30pm UK time.

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Is it really going to be a much better season for McLaren this year?

They go from the fourth to the third-best power unit. Yes in seconds the difference is big, but look how far away Red Bull still is.

It is safe to say that they will leapfrog Sauber and Haas (or is it, Haas switched focus very soon and Sauber has a renewed partnership with Ferrari). But the well oiled machine that is Force India? The yet improving Renault and even (big if here) the first Williams with actual influence from Paddy Lowe?

Not just the fans but the team and its drivers were very fast to diminish the other midfield teams, as it is a given fact that they will out-perform them.

McLaren has a lot to prove, and in 2018 there won’t be Honda to blame.

Budget isn’t everything.
Joao (@Johnmilk)

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  • 52 comments on “Alonso 13th on the grid for Daytona 24 Hours”

    1. Yes Juan Pablo, you are correct.

      Thing is, Alonso is racking up the monies with his campaign, maybe you should too.

      1. Poor Montoya. Everyone remembers Alonso upsetting Ron Dennis and getting kicked out of McLaren at the end of 2007, but everyone forgets that Montoya did it the year before, and not only that he did it better by not even making it to the end of the season.

        Montoya does have a valid point though, it actually seems way more probable that he could achieve the triple crown than Alonso, having two out of three is waaay closer (for example Alonso is as far behind Montoya as I am behind Alonso, and I’ve long since given up on my hopes of the triple crown).

        1. Alonso is closer to Montoya than you are to Carmen Jorda.

        2. @jerseyf1, it depends on how you define the “Triple Crown”, because there are multiple interpretations – if you go by that of Graham Hill, who stated that he thought that the F1 element of the Triple Crown was winning the F1 drivers title, then Montoya would only hold one of those (winning the Indy 500).

          1. Yeah I noticed on Wiki for example they describe the alternative of the Triple Crown being the 500, Lemans, and the F1 title, but then they do a chart that combines an either/or for Monaco or the F1 title. So only Graham Hill has achieved the Triple Crown and he happened to have won both Monaco and the F1 title. There are 12 other drivers who have 2 out of 3 when you use the either/or method of Monaco or F1 title, and JPM is the only active driver on the list. JV is on the list with his Indy 500 win, his F1 Championship, and then what is not mentioned is his 2nd place at Lemans with Peugeot, so he came oh so close. He of course also has a CART Championship but that’s not part of the Crown. JV, Andretti, and Fittipaldi stand alone with their 500 wins, their CART Championships and their F1 titles in the history of Motorsport.

    2. Mclaren will beat all the midfield providing they have a chassis at least as good as last year in comparison to the competition.

      1. I so hope so. Ita been too long!

      2. The problem is that we have been told for years how important it was to integrate chassis with engine in the current regs and McLaren have had significant input into the Honda engine hence their aero may have been optimised based on that. Now they need to work with an engine already designed for others so there’s not guarantee that they can make a chassis as good as last year (that’s, of course, assuming it’s as good as they say it was and given that they had a clear strategy to kick Honda for their troubles we don’t really know how good the chassis actually was).

        1. @jerseyf1 True about the integration thing and I don’t think anyone is expecting them to start beating Mercedes and fighting for the WDC, but I think for now they just want to get into the top 4 and have some chances to win some races. The Renault pu has helped RBR be pretty competitive, and win some races, so it is not unheard of to have a customer setup and at least look half decent, and I think they’ll take half decent for now. Last 3 seasons aside, which have been a unique anomaly for Mac, they usually aren’t far behind for very long throughout their F1 history, so I can’t see them taking a step backwards this season post-Honda. And I think Renault would have been able to help quite a lot in terms of feeding them knowledge on how to integrate their systems to Mac’s car, whereas with Honda it was all new for both of them and a much bigger learning curve. It’s been said that Honda even had to change their engine design early on when Mac insisted it had to fit into their extreme coke bottle design. So it was truly a feeling out process early on in that relationship. It will be this year too, but I think much less so given Renault’s more solid, if still imperfect experience in this current gen.

      3. Because we all know how good the chassis was last year, since they took every opportunity that they had to tells us

    3. Gotta agree with Cotd, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if McLaren finished 7th in the constructors, whereas I’d classify a 4th place as a best-case scenario if one does not want to throw all realism and probability out of the window. McLaren has not only driven with Honda-engines for the past years, they’ve also driven without a title-sponsor and with an atmosphere inside that probably wasn’t best suited to get top-staff, and apart from Prodromou, who was a second fiddle before joining McLaren, the team has not attracted anyone from outside for any major tech-role in recent years. Changing their engine supply will probably mean a step forwards (there wasn’t really much backwards anyway), but it’s unlikely this single switch will be enough to turn it back into a top-team from one day to the next. They’ll have some more work to do for a couple of years.

      1. The BIG question is, will they be competitive with RBR given that they will be using the same engine ? If not they might find it difficult to overcome the power advantage of the MB-AMG engined teams.

        1. If not they might find it difficult to overcome the power advantage of the MB-AMG engined teams.

          There is more to a team than the PU, and Williams seems to be lagging in both chassis and driver strength.

          Force Whatever is a more likely competitor. But we saw last year how much faster the RBR package was. Thus even if the 2018 McLaren chassis is no RBR yet, I still expect them to come in ahead of the Force guys.

          1. They really need to come up with a name quickly, that Force thing is making us mad

    4. I think mclaren will be OK, don’t forget these are one of the best mid season development teams.. As long as the new engine gels well at the start of testing and it doesn’t start off with head scratching and poor performance, I think we will see a resurgence, if not this year, then certainly next, this of course being on the proviso that Renault’s reliability holds strong.

    5. With regard to the BBC article and pay TV, I’d love to be a fly on the wall when the gang at Liberty discuss their strategy. I have followed F1 since the late 70’s and remember the days when in the middle of covering a live F1 race, they switch to live cricket, before coming back to see the race conclude. How times have changed and I think it’s fair to say that well established F1 fans are quite spoiled. Even today, for those that have a modicum of internet intelligence, coverage of live races can be sourced through various and sometimes questionable streaming services.
      What I can’t get away from though and there seemingly no clear answers or proposals coming from Liberty, are the three elephants in the room when it comes to the future of F1.
      Elephant 1: Capturing a new generation of fans to the sport. Time will tell if Liberty’s social media and e-gaming strategy will pay off. Personally I don’t think it will be enough compared to the coverage they would get if they opened up more to free to air.
      Elephant 2: The gradual erosion of ever present danger. For me the halo represents a step too far in the quest for better health and safety in F1. Whist I do not watch F1 to see carnage and death, one of the huge draws for me is to watch and admire the courage and fearlessness of these guys. The halo takes some of this away and also I’m not convinced that it doesn’t add other complications in crash situations. There is always a cycle of cause and effect, cause and effect etc etc.
      Elephant 3: Fundamental changes in wider society in terms of technology and attitudes towards mobility. The younger generations are less bothered about learning to drive plus we are moving from fossil to electric, driver to driverless.
      Based on the above, my feeling is that F1 is in a slow downward spiral. Within 10 to 15 years, unless F1 combines somehow with Formula E, it will simply end up as an ‘historic’ form of motor sport and eventually exist no more.
      Ross Brawn, I wish you luck.

      1. joe pineapples
        26th January 2018, 8:51

        Good points made. I guess I’m lucky to be able to use my brother’s Sky Go account (prefer C4 coverage when that’s live though), but if that came to an end, I just don’t think I could be bothered chasing it by any other free means.

      2. Regarding your 3rd concern, @mccosmic; I don’t think Liberty is flogging a dead elephant.
        There are more sports which are no longer linked to the original activity: javelin and archery.
        And I guess kids will continue to build soapboxes, as much as we used to play Cowboys and Indians.

      3. Absolutely agree with your points. I believe that the Saviour of F1 will be the very tech that threatens it now.
        One of my sons is very much into gaming to the point that he was invited to travel from Aus to Europe to compete in tournaments, his forte was first person shooter games. His opinion is that if F1 embraces the developing tech in virtual reality they will draw in many new fans. Because they will be able to sit in their lounge rooms and compete and test their skills in real time against the best drivers in the world. If you have any doubts look into how gaming has driven and continues to drive much of the advances in computer tech.

    6. I expect Mclaren to finish either 4th or 5th in the Constructors’ Championship overhauling both Mercedes-customers along the way now that they’ve got a more competitive and reliable PU. Yes, they won’t be a ‘de facto’ works team anymore, but neither is Red Bull, and yet they’ve finished comfortably ahead of both Mercedes-customer teams with the Renault PU, so, therefore, I expect Mclaren to overhaul them with that PU as well (assuming they’re chassis will be better than the Mercedes-customers’ next season.) We shall wait and see how things will eventually unfold.
      Here’s my early prediction for the final constructors’ standings next season:
      1-3: Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull in whichever order
      4-5: Renault, and Mclaren in whichever order
      6-7: Force India, Williams in this order.
      8-10: Haas, Sauber, and Toro Rosso again in whichever order.

    7. From the BBC-article:
      ”In TV terms, a number of changes are being contemplated. These were presented to broadcasters as unconfirmed plans at a meeting this week.
      Among the ideas were:
      making the start time of European races an hour later in the hope of attracting a bigger audience – so a typical start would be 2pm in the UK, rather than 1pm
      races to start at 10-past the hour rather than on it
      Bahrain to become a full night race rather than start at twilight
      improved engine sound from repositioned on-board microphones
      make the cars look faster with different camera angles and static cameras
      playing a soundtrack of music at occasional parts of the race
      a highlights reel to play at regular intervals during the live broadcast
      a potential deal with Netflix for behind-the-scenes footage”
      – More or less all of these ideas that were discussed recently are ridiculous to be honest, LOL. Firstly, how would an hour later start time for the European races really attract a bigger audience? Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with starting the races at 3-past the hour as is done currently and has been done for a long time. I’d also like to know the rationale behind, for example, the suggestion for the Bahrain GP to start under entirely dark sky rather than in the early minutes of civil twilight as of now. There’s already one race that starts under the entirely dark sky and one that starts around half an hour before the sunset and finishes under astronomical twilight, so just keep the Bahrain GP as a race that starts at around sunset, so that there remains this particular variation between the three floodlit-races. ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

      1. I kinda like all, except soundtrack… What is that about?

        1. @jureo I can only really agree with the last one (”a potential deal with Netflix for behind-the-scenes footage”). The rest of them sound a bit too irrelevant/ridiculous to really even contemplate them.

      2. @jerejj, I would guess that Liberty Media are probably looking at the effect it would have on audiences in the US, which is known to be one of their major targets – shifting the start times an hour later in the day for the European races would, I believe, correspond to time slots in the bracket of about 8-10am across the US, and that slightly later start would probably be more appealing to people in the US whilst probably not having a significant impact on the European audience either.

        Similarly, I would imagine that the reason for shifting Bahrain slightly later into the evening would probably also be to provide a more favourable broadcasting time in the US market too, again helping them with their objective of expanding the presence of F1 in the US.

        1. @anon Yeah, but pushing the start times of the European races back would be to the detriment of Far East Asia and Australia, for example. Furthermore, pushing it back by an hour wouldn’t really make a difference to the West Coast as it would then be 6 am rather than 5 am, so no real improvement on that front. BTW, the Bahrain GP starts at 8 am on the West Coast already, which isn’t unpleasantly early.

          1. @jerejj, I guess that it would depend on which market they want to prioritise more, and I get the impression that it would be the US market that they are keenest to try and expand. I agree that the changes are not going to really do much for viewers on the West Coast, but I imagine that for the majority of the US the proposed viewing times would be more acceptable.

      3. knowing all other motorsport series i’d bet they’d pick the worst plastic sounding brostep for the ‘soundtrack’

      4. “From the BBC-article:
        ”In TV terms, a number of changes are being contemplated. ”
        Liberty is very likely going after the US TV market with these changes. As mentioned, it will have minimal effect on the European viewing audience, but it will have a bigger impact in North America.
        Starting coverage at 10 minutes to the hour does not win you any points with the major networks. All programming starts (and usually ends) on the hour. Imagine the impact if coverage of a European race was cut off 10 laps before the end in order to catch the start of a Golf Event, or worse, (insert marginal sport here …). We get this all the time.
        Expect that they will be trying to make the race schedule, and overall duration match the TV schedule, not the reverse.
        Besides, now I won’t need to get up at 4:30 am to watch a race. I can sleep in till 6:00 and still get coffee before the start. Yipeeeee.

    8. F1 & TV rights – what does the future hold?

      There’s a Roman saying about the buyer spending their money cautiously, but there’s also a consequence of selling, and one consequence is you loose the right of ownership over what was yours. If you sell a valuable painting to someone who wants to keep it in a museum for all to look at that might please you, but if the buyer decided to lock it away in a leaking shed where it will deminish the life of the picture, then maybe you’d be less happy at that prospect.

    9. I hope they don’t start F1 races later, it would probably kill a lot of live interest in Australia (where the European races currently start at 10pm in the Eastern states (including Sydney and Melbourne), 9:30pm in the centre (South Australia/Northern Territory) and 8pm in Western Australia. Starting an hour later really pushes it for people who have work in the morning.

      Sadly for me Australia’s audience is already small and I don’t think FOM will care that much.

      1. @vmaxmuffin

        Sadly for me Australia’s audience is already small and I don’t think FOM will care that much.

        Not to forget the fact that even if every single Aussie were to to turn on their TV for the races, their percentage would still be in the single digits. From a marketing perspective, Australia is irrelevant to F1, I’m afraid.

        1. From a marketing perspective, Australia is irrelevant to F1…

          That’s exactly the problem! This isn’t about Australia from the point of view of international marketing, it is all about international marketing from the point of view of Australia. This is all about international brand recognition in the Australian market. When you hide F1 races away then maybe you loose only a tiny percentage of viewers, but those brands that sponsor F1 races or cars loose a big percentage of their brand recognition in that region or country. A corporate sponsor buys space on an F1 car or around an F1 race track because they want brand recognition in every region and every country around the world. Take away Free to Air TV and you take away brand recognition in that locality. One detrimental effect is then the corporate wants a discount on their F1 advertising. Worse still is if the corporate decides they need to supplement their F1 sponsorship by sponsoring some local events. Now you have F1 competing with a local event. Say, for example, a drink manufacturer decides they need brand recognition in the Australian market because F1 races are hidden behind the paywall, so they might sponsor some young men doing stunt cycling or skateboarding or a few cars in a premier saloon car racing series. F1 just doesn’t loose income, the corporate just doesn’t start to think they’re getting better their brand recoginiton cheaper, there is another bigger problem, which is people start to prefer seeing that local event instead of F1.

    10. There were some rumors that the FW41 didnt pass the crash tests & might lose the first preseason tests… If so,thats a bad start for Williams as both of their drivers need those tests for many reasons(tyres,experience etc).

      As for the TV rights, i dont like what i’m hearing & mostly,the idea of having music during the race is awful…

      1. Of all the cars that could fail the crash test, it had to be the one that Stroll will drive…

        1. Valuable track time seems that will be lost for the 2 Williams youngsters

      2. @miltosgreekfan

        There were some rumors that the FW41 didnt pass the crash tests & might lose the first preseason tests

        Didn’t hear about those rumours, but failing a crash test is nothing special. Happens to the very best, and usually isn’t even worth reporting. There’s still a month left before teams hit the track for pre-season testing, so it’s a bit early for this kind of alarmism.

        1. motorposrt.com italy is where those rumours came about

    11. It’s a shame that the Ligier is so off the pace, but still amazing that Alonso’s team managed to get a full 1.1s faster that the next Ligier, that includes people like Bruno Senna who did a brilliant job at last year’s WEC (with an Oreca, but hey).
      Story of his life.

      BTW, anybody knows how to watch the race in the UK? I can’t view it on Motorsport, not even the highlights!

      1. I watched the qualifying live on the IMSA app, though I’m not sure if the race will be on that too.

      2. The broadcast is free on IMSA TV for everyone outside the USA.

    12. Well Fred has certainly learned how to make tires last. That could prove to be a very important factor.

    13. Broadcasters pay a fortune for the TV rights so now F1 has to give them better value for money by including music and a highlights reel at regular intervals through the race? Because America!!!

    14. Regarding the proposals for TV….

      making the start time of European races an hour later in the hope of attracting a bigger audience – so a typical start would be 2pm in the UK, rather than 1pm

      I’d rather it stay at 1pm.

      races to start at 10-past the hour rather than on it

      Don’t see the point?

      Bahrain to become a full night race rather than start at twilight

      Don’t care either way.

      improved engine sound from repositioned on-board microphones

      Hopefully not what they were trialing on Perez’s car at the end of last year as whatever they were doing simply sounded awful.

      make the cars look faster with different camera angles and static cameras

      Cool.

      playing a soundtrack of music at occasional parts of the race

      They do that I press mute!

      a highlights reel to play at regular intervals during the live broadcast

      On the pits channel or something fine but not a fan of them taking the focus away from live action & interrupting the world-feed to do it even if it’s some sort of PIP or Split-screen.

      a potential deal with Netflix for behind-the-scenes footage

      As long as it’s something interesting & worth watching that would be cool.

    15. Montoya is closer to a triple cheeseburger than Alonso, but not a triple crown. Juan is forty three years old this year, he is past his prime, and never won an F1 world championship. Fernando is a double world champion and is still in his thirties. Chalk and a very big lump of cheese.

      1. Lol that’s funny, and while I’ve not been a JPM fan I would just add that 43 is not too old to do Lemans. Others far older have done so, although I admit I don’t know how many drivers, assuming there are some, that have won Lemans at 43 plus. I just know many have at least competed there in their 40’s and 50’s. Sounds like JPM doesn’t even have a sniff of a ride anyway, at least for now.

        1. @robbie, it is true that drivers in the LMP1 class have tended to be older, but most of the recent overall winners of the 24 Hours have tended to be in their late 30’s. McNish and Kristensen were in their 40’s when they won in 2013, but it has to be said that, back in 2013, Audi had such a significant pace advantage over Toyota that it really was a private battle between the three Audi entries, so it wasn’t quite as tough a race as it could have been.

          1. @anon Good stuff. So perhaps since JPM doesn’t even have a ride for Lemans, and is he even looking, then perhaps safe to say he’s past his sell-by date for the Triple.

            1. @robbie, it’s not totally impossible, as he has taken part in a few sportscar races in the past, including the Petit Le Mans in 2017 and the Daytona 23 Hours – that said, the last 24 Hours of Daytona race he did was back in 2013.

              That said, he would be comparatively old when compared to those around him, and probably would be at a bit of a disadvantage as he hasn’t raced in a car with a hybrid drive system either. He could perhaps race in the privateer LMP1 class, where hybrid systems are currently not allowed, but that would sharply cut his chances of an overall victory too.

              Mind you, as far as I am aware Montoya isn’t looking at Le Mans anyway – since 2006, he’s pretty much turned his back on the rest of the world and focussed on the US racing scene (I think that the 2006 Canadian GP is the last race that he took part in that was outside of the borders of the US).

      2. Do you know what the triple crown means?

        Alonso has 1 out 3 “crowns”
        Montoya 2 out of 3

        It is quite evident that Montoya is closer, is it not?

        1. Then JPM is just as close as Maurice Trintignant, Jochen Rindt, and Bruce McLaren.
          And probably just as likely ;)

        2. Yes I do know what Triple Crown means. Montoya won the 1999 and 2015 Indy 500 and 2003 Monaco Gp, where as Alonso ONLY won the Monaco Gp. I understand your point, my point is that Alonso is younger and better placed than Montoya is. Alonso has a regular ride in a major series, Juan is more on the sidelines these days.
          In other words, Fernando has a more ‘realistic’ chance of attaining the triple crown due to his age and that was my point. There is nothing stopping him from having another shot at the Indy 500, an event that he proved more than capable in last year.

    16. Mercedes will win everything once again and ferrari will sometimes be competitive. Red bull is there ready to take points away when the two slip. I expect renault engines to keep having lots of reliability issues which will hurt both red bull and mclaren.

      Mercedes had a difficult to setup car last year. This year it will be faster and less difficult to set up. Coming up with new engine (all parts changed they say) they will be super fast while super reliable. Ferrari makes small step forward but loses little bit compared to mercedes leaving them out of championship contention. Red bull now has their wind tunnel working (unlike at the start of 2017 when it was giving bad data) and I expect red bull to take step forward too. Bigger than ferrari. Most of the time the red bulls will be bothering the ferraris while other times the red bulls are in their own little space between ferrari and mclaren. Driving their own processional race.

      The weakness for mclaren has clearly been the engine these last years. Even if mclaren’s chassis is not the best the engine has been just hopelessly bad and has been holding them back MASSIVELY (add three exclamation marks!!!). Now with the engine fixed (while still being unreliable and only 3rd best by clear margins) they have a chance to race. However the sad reality is that there will be no hard racing for mclaren. What I expect to see is that the gaps at the front get bigger. The gap between force india and red bull is going to be massive. Massive enough to fit in the mclarens to finish most races in their own no man’s land. The kind of racing mclaren will see is turn one battles against the force indias and renaults. Not against red bulls and ferraris. Lack of renault engine power is going to be mentioned all the time next season.

      I expect mclaren to finish 4th. Comfortably in the dead space between the red bulls and the rest. Just like red bull was in the dead space between the also rans and the ferrari/merc last season. The interesting fight is in the midfield. Can force india can hold off renault? That is the battle and the only battle. Renault is improving every season and they have deep pockets to keep the progress going. Force india has good car and monster team of designers for such team and a monster of a mercedes engine.

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