Earlier in 2019, 2-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso announced that he would be participating in the prestigious Dakar Rally. However, the Spaniard insisted that his participation in the event is not a mere PR stunt, but a serious attempt to race in one of the most gruelling races.
The Spaniard chose to step away from Formula 1 at the end of 2018 after three unsuccessful years with McLaren and Honda. Suffice to say, Alonso was able to hold his own and finished the opening stage in eleventh place. It was note-worthy that he confessed that it was lightyears away from a walk in the park and that he was “on tiptoes”.
“It’s not a show where you go out on the track swapping a motorcycle for a car,” Alonso told La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Spaniard was referring/taking a dig at a recent machine swap between former teammate Lewis Hamilton and MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.
Maybe it was his ego talking, but Fernando Alonso insisted that he would have more fun in other categories where he knows what to expect. Needless to say, he and Hamilton never enjoyed a good relationship when they were teammates at McLaren.
What did Rossi say in response to Fernando Alonso?
However, on the other end of the spectrum, Rossi defended Hamilton and assured that the event was far from a marketing plug. Instead, it was a full-fledged F1 test with Rossi putting in competitive laps in the Mercedes W10.
According to the Italian, he was completely on board with the idea, but did not want to be limited to a handful of laps. Instead, he wanted it to be a proper test and referenced an earlier F1 test that he did with Scuderia Ferrari back in 2008.
“I did a 1.13 compared to Lewis’ 1.11.7, but he only did five laps in the morning,” Rossi concluded.