Fernando Alonso can prove that he is a “true racer” by joining Formula E, says his former Renault team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr. The Brazilian has raced in the all-electric series since 2014, having won the title in the inaugural FE season.
Alonso is assessing his options for 2019, having confirmed that he will leave Formula 1 after 16 seasons in the series – including two title-winning years in 2005 and 2006.
The Spaniard had been expected to move to IndyCar to attempt an Indianapolis 500 victory to seal the ‘Triple Crown’, however a tetchy relationship with Honda could scupper a move and has reportedly switched Alonso’s focus to NASCAR.
FE CEO Alejandro Agag says he will offer Alonso a contract for the series’ sixth campaign, and Piquet – speaking at Jaguar’s car launch for season five – hopes it comes to fruition.
“I think it would be great,” Piquet Jr told Reuters.
“It would be good not just for Formula E but good for Fernando to show people that he’s a true racer and he doesn’t care what he’s racing.”
With Felipe Massa joining FE this season and new cars that are much faster and last entire races, Piquet says the series is making great strides.
“You still have those guys who don’t accept — the bullies that were bullying back in the day — who don’t accept saying ‘Oh, now it’s cool’,” he said.
“They’re still going to keep [asking]: ‘Oh, how’s your little Duracell car doing’.
“But you see the engagement of the fans, and you see the amount of people coming to the races and even the interest of drivers.
“In the beginning they were like ‘yeah, how’s the car going? Is it going already at over 150 miles an hour?’ and this and that. And now the drivers are starting to call us and [ask]: ‘can we get a test?’.”
Ever since its inception, the sport has been acting as a second home for out-of-favour F1 drivers. All four of its champions, Nelson Piquet Jr, Sebastien Buemi, Lucas Di Grassi and Jean-Eric Vergne, are all former F1 drivers. Others include, Jaime Alguersuari, Karun Chandhok, Jerome D’Ambrosio, Esteban Gutierrez, Nick Heidfeld, Kamui Kobayashi, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Charles Pic, Bruno Senna, Jarno Trulli, Jacques Villeneuve and others.