Fernando Alonso has revealed he is still keen on competing in a full World Endurance Championship (WEC) next year but his team McLaren effectively ruled out that possibility in Abu Dhabi.
The two-time Formula One world champion, who last weekend drove a Toyota LMP1 car during a WEC testing experience in Bahrain, has made it clear he wants to pursue the format in 2018.
McLaren are likely to grant Alonso permission to make his debut in the famed Le Mans 24 Hours next year as part of the nine-part WEC series, much like they did back in May, when the 36-year-old skipped the Monte Carlo Grand Prix to partake in the famed Indy500 race.
While it has not yet been confirmed the Spaniard will drive at Le Mans’ Circuit de la Sarthe next June, a full season in WEC looks to be out of the question given potential clashes with his F1 commitments.
“We would need to study the calendars carefully. It would be nice. Probably. I would like it,” said a coy Alonso, when asked about the possibility, during a media debrief at the team’s hospitality villa at Yas Marina Circuit.
Following up on Alonso’s answer, McLaren team boss Eric Boullier said: “First of all, as you yourself pointed out, the calendars still intersect, so he would not be able to do the full season.
“Of course, we all know that Fernando likes to race every weekend. I think 52 weekends a year would not be enough for him.
“We know that one day he wants to race at Le Mans, but we have not received any official requests yet. Nobody has asked us. So I cannot comment on these rumours.”
After a disappointing campaign with McLaren Honda and a ninth-placed finish in the Constructors’ Championship, Alonso is fully focused on the next 12 months which will also see him race in the 2018 Daytona 24 Hours – his first-ever endurance event – for outfit, United Autosports sportscar.
“We didn’t meet the expectations (at McLaren this year) but it’s a good feeling to finish the season – turning the page for the next goal, next target and clearly for next year we have high expectations,” said Alonso.
“Different goals, designing the car (during testing next week) – many things are ongoing that make us quite optimistic and we can concentrate on next year.”
McLaren will end their disastrous tie-up with Honda and will have a Renault engine starting 2018.
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