Alonso: Fan experience in Daytona 'unthinkable' in F1
Fernando Alonso believes that the intimate nature of the experience enjoyed by fans at the Daytona International Speedway track would be "unthinkable" in Formula 1, with the fans able to get extremely close to the drivers and even reach out to touch the cars.
The Spaniard made the decision to leave F1 at the conclusion of the 2018 season, and will kick-off his new full-time role in endurance racing this weekend at the IMSA Weather Tech Sportscars Championship.
Speaking to Autosport, Alonso highlighted some of the differences in atmosphere between Daytona and a F1 Grand Prix.
"There were a lot of good moments last year and already this year a couple of kids were even jumping in the car at one point," he said.
"They get really close to the teams, to the drivers, to the cars. They can even touch the car if they want. It's just something unthinkable in Formula 1 or racing in Europe, so I think that's the nice part of this atmosphere and this race.
"I know it will be even bigger with all the fans here and how close they are on pitlane as well.
"When you jump in the car, you're still signing autographs and taking pictures even with the helmet on, waiting for the car to come to pit lane.
"Sometimes you need to tell them you are in a critical moment and you should be ready to jump in.
"But at same time if you embrace that and enjoy that, it is a very nice event and very nice emotion to see all the passion from the fans when they see the cars."
Alonso competed in the same race last year in what was his first experience in the endurance classic, and this time around, he thinks he is in with a chance of winning with Wayne Taylor Racing compared to United Autosports last year.
"Last year, this was my first US sportscar race and my first closed-cockpit experience and definitely this year, I'm ready to enjoy it a bit more and use the experience of my first WEC season as well," the two-time F1 champion continued.
"Everything is much more open than racing in Europe. The target this year is definitely to be more competitive on the track and I'm happy."
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