Fernando Alonso, Toyota Hilux Dakar test, 2019

“Extreme” Dakar couldn’t be less like Formula 1 – Alonso

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Fernando Alonso says the Dakar rally, which he will attempt to win next year, could not be more different to Formula 1.

He described the point-to-point rally event, which will cover 7,500 kilometres in Saudi Arabia in 2020, as “the most extreme discipline in motorsport.”

“You cannot be more far apart, Formula 1 and Dakar,” said Alonso, who has tested extensively for Toyota and competed in lower-level competitions in preparation for his Dakar debut.

“The driving technique is completely different,” he said. “You’re using both feet all the time in Dakar while in single-seaters you are not even allowed to touch the brake while [on the] throttle because the fuel consumption will get very high.”

The constantly changing course means Dakar drivers have to be at maximum concentration all the time. “The reading of the terrain and the unknown that you are facing every kilometre, while on the circuit everything is optimised lap after lap,” he explained.

“And the distance: [In F1] we’re used to having one hour and a half of concentration, and even you can relax on the straights, you have time to touch the steering wheel, to do different things. While [in Dakar] every metre is new. So you need to pay attention that is on another level for eight or nine hours every day. So it’s quite difficult to adapt.”

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Fernando Alonso, Toyota Hilux Dakar test, 2019
Fernando Alonso, Toyota Hilux Dakar test, 2019

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 19 comments on ““Extreme” Dakar couldn’t be less like Formula 1 – Alonso”

    1. So, apart from that F1 comparison he/the one asking the question felt needed to be there, how did he find the experience really? Would be interesting to read.

      Sadly, I have to admit that comparisons between other motorsports disciplines and F1 by Alonso have seemed too negatively biased by his own McLaren years to be very relevant or interesting since well before the end of last year.

      1. Where do you see biased…… he is just stating facts after someone asked him to compare.

        Everytime someone asks his view and he answers, f1 fans get all defensive like he is insulting F1.

      2. @bosyber Alonso’s main criticism of F1 is that it’s too predictable. You can’t argue that that’s not the case. MotoGP is heading that way as well, but F1 is just another level of predictable.

        1. Well you can thank the FIA for getting rid of unpredictability in favor of “cost saving”. And not a single cent has actually been saved…

        2. Highly commercialized sports tend to be predictable, and F1 needs a ton of money.

          Without cost control, how much farther ahead would Mercedes be?

          I don’t think it’s even that bad of a situation; The show is pretty good. Can it be better?

          There’s a limit to what teams, supplies and sponsors can do. Once companies feel like they’re wasting money, they’ll start quitting.

        3. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
          9th December 2019, 20:12

          Well, bar his single retirement, Marquez never finished lower than 2nd this year. I haven’t seen Hamilton doing that just yet. He was a bit sloppier last year, but rarely ever outside the top 3. last time he wasn’t champion was 2015.
          And he’s getting more succesful every season.

        4. The difference is in motogp Marquez is on a very different level than the rest of his opposition.

          Having said that I believe Hamilton is a class is his own too, but look where Marquez’s teammate ended up compared to him.

          Machinery in motogp is a lot closer and skill matters more compared to f1

          I know, I did not back this up with facts, this is simply how it seems to me, just an opinion

      3. The constantly changing course means Dakar drivers have to be at maximum concentration all the time. “The reading of the terrain and the unknown that you are facing every kilometre, while on the circuit everything is optimised lap after lap,” he explained.

        I’m sorry but you cannot read bias into this. An F1 track aside from some variation in temps is a static terrain for lap after lap, smoothed out and built to maximise speed. Off road terrain is a completely different ballgame with many more variables, fact.

    2. All I know, I’ll be following Dakar next year. If nothing else, just trying to see how he is doing. Like Indy 2017 when he was driving?

      1. Same here. Also next year’s Indy of course!

        1. Has he even got a ride for the 500?

    3. Good Challenge!!!

    4. Great investment from Toyota. Everyone is talking about Alonso.
      Same would happen if Vettel and Hamilton retired and received similar offers.

      1. @bigjoe And where have you been for ages haha?. We all know Alonso would swap with Hamilton and his car in a heartbeat if Merc allowed it he talks like this because he has no choice no one wants him in F1 at the big teams. Even Mclaren put to bed halfway through the season Alo would not race for them again. It is like Alo in Mclaren days saying F1 was boring it was boring because he could not get a winning car.

        Alonso would love F1 if he had Vet Ferrari of 2018 trust me. Also his Lemans win is not much to brag about i think winning a world title with the most record wins not starting on pole and having 3 teams win races is better than a guaranteed win at LeMans, someone like Brundle could have won LeMans it takes 3 of you Alo did not win that on his own. He also went straight to the best team.

        Lets just hope he comes back to RedBull or Merc in 2021. Max to Merc, Lewis to Ferrari, Vettel to the retirement home. Me and you both know Alo swaps his statistics and carear for Hamilton, he is down with Mika, Lewis is up with Schumi a huge gap.

        1. @dan ‘Alonso would love F1 if he had Vet Ferrari of 2018 trust me.’

          Not neceserally if his teammate was someone like Lecrer :)

    5. http://score-international.com/crossover-racers-drawn-to-52nd-annual-score-baja-1000/

      Toby, Nassar, Jensen … Rossi … etc., take on the dezert. Al shoulda saddled up for a crash (!) course. As it were. So to speak.

    6. Kimoa better get used to Dakar then, cos you ain’t coming back.

    7. I bet Alo would race for free if he was guaranteed a title. There is no doubt though this guy is not silly i would bet my life on it if RBull or Merc offerd him to be teammates to there best drivers he would say no. 3 yrs out of f1 and facing Max or Lewis no way he would risk that. Especially with Lewis at his absoloute peak in the races imo. Leclerc it is possible as Vet was not way behind, and Alo knows he as Vet measure, not that that is a good achievement by Vet being beat by a 2nd yr guy is not good.

      I mean dint Alo say Red Bull offerd him a deal? Im sure i read that somehwere and Horner denied it well is you are Alo why did you not take it. I miss Alo in F1 i know for a fact he would not have blown Ferrari chance in 2018 with Rai as his teammate. I have always wanted a Ham and Alo title battle again.

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