Alonso won't suffer from missing WEC Prologue - Toyota

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Alonso won't suffer from missing WEC Prologue - Toyota
By: Gary Watkins
Feb 21, 2018, 9:46 AM

Toyota believes Fernando Alonso will not be handicapped by skipping the pre-season Prologue test at Paul Ricard ahead of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#23 United Autosports Ligier LMP2, P: Phil Hanson, Lando Norris, Fernando Alonso
Sébastien Buemi, Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima, Toyota Gazoo Racing
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050-Hybrid: Fernando Alonso

The McLaren Formula 1 racer will not drive the Toyota TS050 Hybrid on track together with a full grid of cars before the Spa WEC opener in May because the Prologue at the start of April clashes with the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Toyota Motorsport boss Pascal Vasselon said that Alonso's participation in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month with the United Autosports LMP2 team and the prowess he displayed in traffic meant the team had no concerns with him missing the Prologue.

"He will be less experienced in traffic than his teammates and Spa will be his first experience of this in our car," Vasselon told Motorsport.com.

"But he has already learnt about this at Daytona, so we have no concerns about this."

Vasselon said Alonso had shown an aptitude for the specific demands of endurance racing and was fitting in well with the Toyota LMP1 squad and his new teammates. 

"He understands what endurance is about and what his duties are," he explained Vasselon. 

Alonso revealed during his second endurance test with Toyota this week at the Algarve circuit in Portugal that he had found the team very welcoming. 

"The atmosphere in the team is amazing," he said. "From the first day everyone was very friendly with me: we have a WhatsApp group in which we are constantly chatting." 

Kazuki Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi will also miss the Prologue because they will be on the duty with Toyota's Lexus brand in the Super GT season-opener at Okayama.

All six Toyota drivers, plus test and reserve Anthony Davidson, are taking part in the Algarve endurance simulation this week. 

The team undertook a day's performance testing on Monday before embarking on a 30-hour run on Tuesday morning, which is scheduled to end on Wednesday afternoon. 

Toyota has one further endurance test scheduled ahead of the Prologue on April 6-7.

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About this article

Series WEC
Drivers Fernando Alonso Shop Now
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Gary Watkins
Article type Breaking news