Alonso to Leave WEC After Le Mans - Hartley Drafted Into Squad

Alonso Leaves Toyota.jpg

Fernando Alonso will end his WEC Toyota contract at the conclusion of the Le Mans 24 Hours next month, with Brendon Hartley replacing the double World Champion.


Having jumped at the chance to spearhead Toyota's assault on the 2018/19 World Endurance Championship and double Le Mans 24 Hour campaign after retiring from Formula One at the end of the 2018 season, 2 x World Champion Fernando Alonso will leave the Japanese outfit next month in pursuit of the next chapter in a glittering career.

"I am sad to say goodbye to Fernando and would like to thank him a lot for his contribution to this fantastic season during which he has written his name in Toyota's motorsport history," said Toyota Gazoo Racing Team President Hisatake Murata. "His passion, desire to win and willingness to chase his dreams is truly impressive. We will enjoy working together for the final two races when I know we all share the same target of winning Le Mans and both World Championships.”

Having completed what he set out to do with Toyota, namely win the most famous race in the world at Le Mans, Alonso has decided to shift his attention elsewhere for the coming year, starting with his and McLaren's bid for Indy 500 honours at the Brickyard later this month.

With big shoes to fill for next season, Toyota have elected to overlook demoted reserve driver and former World Champion Anthony Davison in favour of another former World Champion, drafting in long time Porsche star and former Toro Rosso Grand Prix driver Brendon Hartley.

Despite a disappointing time in Grand Prix racing, Hartley remains one of the most formidable endurance racing drivers in the world, and has already tasted WEC championship success and Le Mans victory when competing for Porsche in the series prior to his ill fated Formula One debut.

Hartley will join up with his new squad upon the conclusion of the Le Mans 24 hour race in June, in readiness for another crack at the World Endurance Championship title next season.

For more motorsport news, head over to the Motorsport Sub Forum here at RaceDepartment.

Like what we do at RaceDepartment? Follow us on Social Media!

 
 
Last edited:
RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

BigMike8

SimRacing 604
Premium
Feb 18, 2017
119
510
Alonso is in a great spot career wise. At 37 he's not too old to race, and he's achieved enough in his career and built enough fame to be welcomed into any racing team in the world more or less.

The sky's the limit... rally? Moto GP? NASCAR?
 

Paul Jeffrey

RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief
Original poster
Staff
Premium
Jun 5, 2009
11,691
34,951
Exactly. He's doing what I would in his position. Leveraging his fame (and talent) to try his hand at big races and series that take his fancy. IMHO that's bloody brilliant, and just like used to happen in the 'good old days' when F1 drivers actually drove other stuff!

I always found it disappointing when drivers left Formula One and basically just stopped driving anything. Would've loved to see 'Our Nige' go on and do a full BTCC season or 4 after he packed in in mid 1995. Of course examples of other drivers continuing their career exist (think Hakkinen and Alesi for example), but its all too rare in my opinion.

Given a successful F1 career, I'd much rather walk away from Grand Prix at, say, 32, and race for 10 years in some other high profile series, than hang on in the championship until my late 30's and just stop all together.

But then, I'm neither famous, rich nor talented, so what do I know! lol
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chiwi and DKOliver

michelforest

500RPM
Mar 2, 2010
877
1,379
Exactly. He's doing what I would in his position. Leveraging his fame (and talent) to try his hand at big races and series that take his fancy. IMHO that's bloody brilliant, and just like used to happen in the 'good old days' when F1 drivers actually drove other stuff!

I always found it disappointing when drivers left Formula One and basically just stopped driving anything. Would've loved to see 'Our Nige' go on and do a full BTCC season or 4 after he packed in in mid 1995. Of course examples of other drivers continuing their career exist (think Hakkinen and Alesi for example), but its all too rare in my opinion.l
Part of the problem, I think, is that the young F1 drivers of today have never driven anything else, except open-wheel cars. They start in karting, then it's F4 or F Renault, F3, F2, F1. To make it in F1 now requires to focus completely on one type of cars and it has become so "specialised" that it's very hard to suddenly try another type. Say what you want about NASCAR, but when a bunch of open-wheel drivers switched to stock cars (Montoya, Franchitti, Danica Patrick, etc.), they pretty much all failed. They all admitted that it was a huge change to go from Indy to stock cars. Same with Hakkinen and Alesi, who both tried DTM and achieved a few good results here and there but never had a shot at a championship.
 

Isaac Chavira

Livery Designer
Premium
Sep 11, 2009
1,736
1,405
Alonso is in a great spot career wise. At 37 he's not too old to race, and he's achieved enough in his career and built enough fame to be welcomed into any racing team in the world more or less.

The sky's the limit... rally? Moto GP? NASCAR?
Solid car racer, yes, but motorcycle, probably not. There are pilots who came from the AMA and WSBK to the Premier class and never won again. These were already established riders. Look at Ben Spies as an example. Going from a car to bike would probably kill his career or him, physically.

Now Rally and NASCAR, I think he would have a much better chance. If he did go to NASCAR I imagine something like this happening =o):

 

DND

Stay Safe, Healthy and be Kind - BLM
Staff
Premium
Dec 12, 2016
1,828
1,604
58

Ok, so I did it for Mark Webber, Jenson Button and once already for Fernando beating the drum to come to the IMSA WeatherTech series, and not just Daytona.
And while I'm dreaming up scenarios, how about Mr. Hisatake Murata jump into the DPi's, could use a nice Honda vs Nissan vs Cadillac vs Toyota rivalry. And with the Ford GT in it's last year Ford as well.
 

BigMike8

SimRacing 604
Premium
Feb 18, 2017
119
510
Solid car racer, yes, but motorcycle, probably not.
Agreed, I was being facetious. I simply meant to say that he would be free to try whatever he wants, it's unlikely he could be competitive in many of these disciplines. But it would be fun to watch him try!