Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Hartley to replace Alonso in Toyota WEC line-up for 2019-20 season

World Endurance Championship

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Fernando Alonso will stand down from Toyota’s World Endurance Championship team at the end of the current season.

His place will be taken by Ferrari F1 simulator driver and former Toro Rosso racer Brendon Hartley following June’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Hartley won the World Endurance Championship twice with Porsche and took victory in the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours with team mates Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley.

Alonso won the Le Mans 24 Hours last year for Toyota with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

“I have enjoyed being part of Toyota Gazoo Racing in WEC but this chapter is ending,” he said. “Winning Le Mans is one of the highlights of my career as part of my ‘Triple Crown’ challenge and I will always remember that victory which we achieved together as a team last year.”

Alonso recently tested Toyota’s Dakar Rally-winning Hilux and hinted he is considering an attempt at the rally endurance event next year: “Now is a good time to take on new challenges and there are many interesting opportunities to explore within Toyota Gazoo Racing.”

Hartley will make his return to WEC with Toyota after being dropped from Toro Rosso’s F1 line-up at the end of last season. “I know how professional and motivated this team is following my years competing against them in WEC, so I am fired up and am very happy to be joining them,” he said.

“I believe I am returning to WEC an even stronger driver following my experience in Formula 1 and I look forward to getting on track and building a strong relationship with my new team.”

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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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17 comments on “Hartley to replace Alonso in Toyota WEC line-up for 2019-20 season”

      1. Gremlins 3 – The Hartley’s

  1. The world has gone quiet about new manufacturers entering WEC… I’m surprised Toyota will keep going

    1. FlyingLobster27
      1st May 2019, 12:18

      @fer-no65, I thought Toyota might take a year out in 2019-20 to prepare their Hypercar. The championship would have benefitted too IMO, giving the LMP1 field a break from the disastrous EoT process, so bad that the FIA have outright removed fuel-per-lap restrictions on the non-hybrids at Spa – yes, it’s getting desperate.
      But right now no-one knows what will be in the top class of 2020-21. The ACO and FIA are trying to attract anyone they can by promising a mix of prototype hypercars (original concept, supported by Toyota, but which only has hypothetical commitments from ByKolles and SCG), road-based hypercars (Aston & McLaren), grandfathered non-hybrid LMP1s (privateers) and now even upgraded GTEs are a possibility (we’re running out of options). With the caveat that the ACO would have to balance these three-four subclasses, when it seems they can’t get two right for starters.

      Attendance and viewership could suffer next year without the draw of swooning over how amazing Alonso is, as many fans seem to be so inclined. Personally, I don’t expect the racing to improve until 2020 now, so I’ll probably just listen in for Le Mans. Without any drama, 2019 could be as terrible as last year as it’ll be run to the same arbitrarily fixed stint lengths and pit stop rules leading to no variation in strategy; 2020 should be better as tyre changes and refuelling will be separated again.

    2. @fer-no65, some of the comments that Toyota have made in recent months are beginning to bring the assumption that they will commit to the post 2020 rule set into question.

      Toyota have indicated they are not keen on the ACO’s latest idea of road based hypercars being used in the LMP1 category, not least because the idea is still quite poorly defined, and they have recently indicated they are starting to get fed up with the fact that the ACO still hasn’t confirmed what the regulations are supposed to be for the 2020-2021 season. They were making a few comments about how they were running out of time to develop a car for 2020, hinting that they might be considering, at the very least, taking a sabbatical, or possibly even pull out altogether if the current impasse continues.

  2. Luke S (@joeypropane)
    1st May 2019, 12:01

    Alonso to Ferrari to replace Seb confirmed.

    /s

    1. That will make loud mouth Marchione cry in his grave. Proven wrong for 5 years of betting on wrong driver and making fun of Alonso for no reason.

      1. Show some respect.

        As far as reports go the relationship with Alonso was severed primarily by Marco Mattiaci with the blessing of DiMontizemelo and had little to do with the late Marchionne.

        1. Yet, it was Marchionne who had poked the most taunts and insults towards Alonso while telling how “great” Vettel is in last few years. Infact Luca Di Montezemelo who always defended Alonso and was given a snub at 70th anniversary of Ferrari by none other than Marchionne.

        2. I’m all for showing a little bit of respect to the dead, but Chaitanya isn’t wrong here. Marchionne was even worse about picking favorites than Ron Dennis. Difference being that while Dennis tried to play it down and stay diplomatic, Marchionne would vocally criticize the drivers he didn’t like.

          He was anything but a nice guy, and I doubt the Fiat Group misses him much.

    2. @joeypropane

      If Ferrari want to win the title, it will be right decision. However, I doubt this will happen, due to Alonso’s strong relationship with Mclaren and Zak Brown. If Alonso comes back to F1, it will more than likely be with Mclaren…never say never though! :)

      I still feel that in the event of Vettel quitting/retiring/taking a sabbatical etc, Ferrari will push to sign Hamilton. If Vettel has another sub-par year in 2020, I can see him stopping. Would be a romantic story for Ferrari to sign Hamilton at that point, who will be gunning for a record breaking 8th Championship (because 6 and 7 are inevitable)!

      1. If Ferrari want to sign Hamilton, all I can say to that is good luck. Lewis would be crazy to ditch Mercedes until at least 2022. Only reason I say that is Merc is probably going to cruise to an easy double this year, and will certainly be the favorite again in 2020. If he doesn’t retire, the only way I see Lewis leaving is if Mercedes pull a Williams when the 2021 regulations come into play and they’re well off the pace.

  3. Only next year/season because the rules stay the same. 2020-2021 is another story.

    1. This needed to be a reply on @fer-no65 ‘s comment

  4. Alonso back in F1 next year then..especially if he wins the 500!

    If he doesn’t win the 500, I can see him committing to a full IndyCar program.

  5. Electroball76
    2nd May 2019, 13:46

    The great double world champion is on the move again. Also Alonso.

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