Mansell puzzled by Alonso's motivation behind WEC bid

Mansell Doubts Mercedes Fallen Back
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Former world champion Nigel Mansell has admitted that he doesn't understand why Fernando Alonso is planning to do double duty in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018.

Alonso will continue to race in Formula 1 with McLaren this season. But he'll also be driving for Toyota in WEC - including making his maiden appearance in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.

The Spanish driver has stated that his ultimate bid is to follow in Graham Hill's footsteps and win the Triple Crown. He's already a two-time Monaco Grand Prix winner, and last year entered the Indianapolis 500.

But Mansell still finds Alonso's decision to complete a full season in WEC rather puzzling.

"I don’t know what the motivation is," Mansell admitted to Sky Sports. He added that he feared it meant that Alonso doesn't hold out much hope of being competitive in F1 this year.

“For me it bodes that the car isn’t going to be as competitive as we all hoped for," he explained. "So he wants to be in a competitive car doing something else, and having the opportunity to win.

“When you are a winner you want to be competitive, and you want to be able to win and compete at the front."

So far the new MCL33 appears to have got off to a decent start. It completed 250 laps during the first pre-season test - more than Red Bull, Haas and Force India.

Stoffel Vandoorne was second-fastest overall on the final day of testing. As the only runner on the snow- and rain-hit Wednesday session, Alonso has duly topped the timesheets two days earlier..

However the car did experience a number of reliability issues. There was a broken wheel nut on Monday, a faulty exhaust clip on Tuesday, and a hole in the heat shield on Thursday. But it's already certainly an improvement on last year's disastrous start for the team.

“Reliability should be much better," Mansell agreed.

Mansell himself is the only driver in history to hold titles in both Formula 1 and CART at the same time in 1993. However, he didn't take part in both series simultaneously - and doesn't recommend Alonso trying to.

He explained that by trying to pull off too much, Alonso could end up losing focus on what counts.

"You mustn’t have one detracting from the other," he said. "If it can all be worked out then great you can have a lot of fun with it.

"I just hope they don’t score an home [own] goal," he added.

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