Fernando Alonso, Toyota, Le Mans, 2018

Alonso “still recovering” from Le Mans victory

2018 French Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso admits he has not fully recovered from his race-winning drive in last weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver, who is racing in the World Endurance Championship for Toyota, said he was at “90%” and “still recovering” ahead of this weekend’s French Grand Prix.

“It definitely was demanding, physically,” said Alonso. “Every time you jump in the car you do two-and-a-half Formula 1 Grands Prix, and then you don’t have two weeks to recover, you have four hours to recover, and then you go back to the car. So it was demanding, it was fun at the same time.

“The adrenaline keeps you awake basically all night. I slept and hour and a half more or less, half asleep, because I was controlling the times through the night. It was a nice experience. Obviously I did the Daytona 24 Hours in January to get experience and practice how the 24 hour races were in terms of physically demands and mental demands as well. Everything was under control.”

Alonso’s night stint in the Toyota TS050 helped bring the car he shared with Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi back into contention with the team’s sister car. However he revealed he was unaware how much progress he was making.

“At night obviously you are so focused and concentrating on traffic and all the other stuff you are not totally aware of the gap between the two cars, if you are faster or slower, you are just trying to put some laps together and some stints clean without any mistake.

“When I finished my fourth stint and I asked the gap obviously we reduced by one minute and a half, one minute 45, and that was great. But during the stint I was not aware of the pace or anything.”

Alonso rejected the suggestion his victory would have had more value if Toyota had faced opposition from other manufacturer teams in LMP1.

“Last year there were only four cars, this year there were 10 so I think there was much more opposition this year. We had the only hybrid system with I think 49% more [efficiency] than any other car and it was a great challenge. I put this victory in a higher level than any other victory in Le Mans.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Alonso “still recovering” from Le Mans victory”

  1. “Last year there were only four cars, this year there were 10 so I think there was much more opposition this year. We had the only hybrid system with I think 49% more [efficiency] than any other car and it was a great challenge. I put this victory in a higher level than any other victory in Le Mans.

    That doesn’t mean what I think it does, right? A win is a win, but of all wins I’ve witnessed this one was short of a lot of things to make it memorable. If this had not been Toyota winning for the first time but Audi winning for the 14th for example I feel close to everyone would’ve described it as a easy win against the clock.

    I’m amazed he didn’t say this was his best drive ever as he usually does after every second he steps in a car.

    1. FlyingLobster27
      21st June 2018, 15:30

      I agree @flatsix, this was a very forgettable Le Mans. The result will be remembered, but the race itself was a 24-hour coronation ceremony of Toyota (and you thought royal weddings were long…), as nothing untoward came their way. That’s not to say it wasn’t easy, that’s not to say it wasn’t earned, that’s not to say it wasn’t deserved, however it wasn’t entertaining.

      And no, Fernando, there were not four cars in P1 last year, there were six. Know your history before placing yourself in it.

    2. Fair point. But I still think and a lot people seem to agree, that Alonso’s drive at Le Mans was spectacular. Regarding his occasional comments about “his best drive” I tend to believe it more when he says it, because he dragged a woeful Mclaren-Honda to a 6th place, or a mediocre Ferrari to be a championship contender, than when Lewis wins a race by 10s ahead of Nico Rosberg in an average race.

    3. @flatsix He doesn’t literally say that it was his best race, but he does emphasize that it was his night stint which helped them to the win.

    4. To me it mainly sounds as a rejection of what the question suggested – that it wasn’t of value; he gives a reasoning why you could actually even say it was way better than previous wins. I doubt he believes it, but, it should be sufficient that he did indeed win le Mans, in my opinion.

    5. @flatsix Watching the interview, I got the impression that he was joking.

  2. Miltiadis (@miltosgreekfan)
    21st June 2018, 15:25

    Yeah, the competition he faced was the hardest ever!
    Finishing 12 laps in front of the other car & his only actual competitor getting multiple penalties in the last hour of the race was super difficult…
    I have lost my words with Alonso’s comments in the last 2 years… But this one was the icing on the cake…

    1. at least now he can’t tell us that F1 is not competitive, there are 20 cars in the field!

    2. yeaahhh, the sweetest moment in live is when you win a race without opponents

  3. And there goes any respect for the guy. Saying toyota faced more opposition than last year is just a lie. Just ask Button how good were non-hybrid cars.

    1. +1

      What a joke of a statement that is. If last year there were only 4 cars then this year there were only 2. No other car had the chance to win without issues for Toyota. I mean even with issues they got nowhere close.

      Alonso is a bit of a fraud in the series to be honest. There’s no way Toyota were letting the no7 win unless they had an issue with the no8. Toyota likely wouldn’t have been at Le Mans without Alonso and the series moved a whole race event just for him. So let’s keep some perspective and remember this was as scripted as they can make a race event.

      I respect he’s a great driver but the only way he wasn’t winning Le Mans was a mechanical issue. To make out it was a close race is just pathetic.

      1. Surely you don’t expect that he would have said the things you two have? Name one driver who in his position would have claimed ‘no competition’….’easy peasy’…’it was a joke’ …yeah saying that would have gotten him no criticism at all. You do realize it was a team effort, not just him, so he’s speaking for a lot of people at Toyota. And they also still had to finish the race and indeed did not dnf due to mechanical failure. Was that always guaranteed? If so they must have had a thousand drivers lined up for that ride.

        1. @robbie Don’t burden them with facts… they are an inconvenience for these kind of fans

          1. Lol…that’s a fact.

        2. I hope you do understand that he could have just said: “no it wasnt easy”. Instead of saying that this was the best win ever. Name any other driver that would not have claimed the same thing? I would say EVERY other driver. It is just Alonso with his “im the best ever at everything, nvm the facts.” and all his brainwashed fans

          1. He is the best of everything. The best at also brain washing fans. That why he has more fans worldwide, than any other race driver. F1 should take note. If he leaves F1, he take loads of fans with him to other categories. I am one of those fans. He brain washed me with his driving. Will pay to watch him in race a go-cart or VW beetle. More time than any other driver he will beat them.

  4. The Le Mans win is certainly a great achievement but you can’t help but think that in the future people will put an asterisk next to it. He can say all he want, but no one was there to make life difficult for the team.

    From what I read, Graham’s win at the Indy 500 also has its doubters. In a way, at least this was a legitimate win, but against virtually no one.

    Hopefully Fernando enjoyed the experience so much that he’ll return soon when the grid is more interesting.

  5. Keith you should upload the entire transcript. It was comical to say the least

  6. Not sure what people are expecting…

    “Yeah you know that 24h race I just won? It wasn’t that important… It wasn’t as fulfilling as I hoped and I think the legacy of it being an important sports car event has diminished”

    Of course he’s not going to say anything like that. Even if (and it’s a very big if) when he the cameras are off and the reporters are gone and his doors are closed at home and he’s sitting on the toilet genuinely alone; that’s really how he feels. He’ll never say anything like it in public, it would be a silly thing to do for everyone…

    1. well, but was there a need to say that others where at a low level than his for example? Wasn’t it enough to say, Le Mans is Le Mans and I won it, deal with it.

      Common sense at least, he just sounded delusional

    2. FlyingLobster27
      21st June 2018, 16:22

      You know @skipgamer, maybe there’s a realistic, fair statement to be found between “it was too easy and I feel it’s worthless” and “Seb, Kaz and I are on a higher level than the 132 winning drivers who came before us”.
      Here, I’ll write his script for you: “Le Mans is a challenge to itself, particularly going fast with the fuel efficiency rules. And we were really fast, with less Safety Cars, we could have had a record distance. So even if we were the only P1 Hybrid team, we respected and rose to the challenge of this race.”

  7. I know that things are different in F1 than in the real world, but frankly: if I was paying someone 1,5 million dollars to race this weekend, and read this, I might be a bit miffed.

    1. Yeah, I wondered about that too. But, maybe they won’t fearing he’ll say out loud during the race ‘this car is less than 90% of where it should be, backmarker team” or something :)

  8. While Alonso’s claim that “there was much more opposition this year” is an obvious nonsense, I also think that it is wrong and even disrespectful to brand the victory of car #8 as unworthy. If Porsche and Audi had still been there, I am pretty sure Alonso would have gladly accepted the challenge; you cannot blame him for the departure of other factory teams. Nothing suggests that Alonso was not great at the wheel or did not do his best. Which is all he could do really.

  9. I love Alonso, he is the guy that took the crown from Michael Schumacher. He will always give his best even in a 2 car race at Le Mans. Now he should go drive for Renault and maybe he can get another WDC.

    1. Proud_Asturian
      21st June 2018, 21:43

      they don’t want him.

      no-one does.

      and he’ll never stop to consider why

    2. “he is the guy that took the crown from Michael Schumacher”. And that right there is the bs that makes him look good. Nvm the fact that in 2005,ferrari wasnt even the top 3 team. But yeah, the racing god Alonso beat MS. Lets forget the fact that the only time he had an equal teammate, he lost to him(a rookie). And that he was mad at Petrov bc he couldnt get padt him. And all his other shortcomings. But surely he is one of the best of all time. I mean cmon! Drivers like Fangio, Gilles, Clark, Moss, Schumacher, Senna, Graham, Hakkinen, Piquet, Prost, Stewart. Surely someone there deserves to be cast out, bc Alonso is that much better and must be one of the goats

  10. It was a slam dunk open goal. Hulkenburgs win was far far more impressive. Harder this year than last year? Hehas learnt so much from the McFail PR spin machine.

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