FIA president Jean Todt says he backs Fernando Alonso’s decision to compete in the World Endurance Championship in 2018, alongside his drive with McLaren in Formula 1.
“I think it’s good for the promotion of motor sport,” Todt told the EFE news agency this week.
“It’s a very personal decision and we have to respect it,” he added. “If he wants it and his team allows it, I think what he is doing is great.”
Todt said that Alonso’s double duty approach was a throwback to the golden age of motorsports.
“20 or 30 years ago many of the F1 drivers also competed in Formula 2 or world sports cars,” the former Ferrari team principal said. “We also used to have many F1 tests. Now there are almost none.”
And Alonso’s love for all types and levels of motorsport is undeniable.
“He also has great programmes for the development of karting,” Todt pointed out. “He wants to give back to young people some of what racing has given him
Asked whether he would have allowed have allowed one of his Formula 1 drivers to race in another championship when he was at Maranello, Todt responded positively.
“Personally, I would have allowed it,” said Todt. “It’s important to get the best out of every driver and for him it means freedom and comfort.”
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Ironically, his old team is currently providing the FIA president with one of his biggest headaches. The Ferrari chairman has threatened to quit Formula 1 because of the sport’s new owners’ plans for the future
“Obviously I talk with Sergio Marchionne and we understand each other perfectly,” said Todt. “I know Ferrari very well.
“I have great respect for them and motor sport owes a lot to them.
“But at the end of the day we should avoid talking about conjecture, speculation and threats and make sure we have all the teams on board in Formula 1.”
Anyone looking for a split between the FIA and the new commercial rights holders will come away disappointed.
“F1 has undergone a big change since Liberty Media bought the commercial rights from Ecclestone and I think it is working well,” Todt said.
“We have a good relationship with them and are working to ensure the continuation of F1.”
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