Fernando Alonso has hit back at suggestions that he is a ‘self-centred’ driver – pointing out that the kind of troubles Ferrari faced between teammates this year never happened when he was there.
Ferrari endured a run of headaches in 2019, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc clashing over slipstream assistance at Monza, team orders in Singapore and Russia, and then crashing into each other in Brazil.
“I think the reputation is always one thing and the facts are different,” said the Spaniard, who won the 2018-19 WEC title.
“When you see crashing teammates, and things like that, as we saw this year and you see every year between teammates, and then my images, you will see the slipstream [I gave] at Monza and slipstream in Spa.
"I know these collaborations. So when we talk about reputation, it is better if we look at the facts.”
Alonso says that he was always honest with himself in his switch to WEC about his limitations, and how much he needed to learn from teammates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
“It was not a problem to share with these two guys because obviously, they had the experience in endurance,” he said.
“They taught me a lot from the first day of testing. They knew about the car and you knew about the circuit, and they knew about their approach on long distance races. I was the one always making the mistakes or making the questions.
“It's not that I was happy jumping out of the car, because I always want to drive, but every time that I was jumping out of the car and they were going in, it was like less stress for me because I knew they were doing the right things. So it was a lot of trust between us.”
Alonso’s next challenge in motorsport is an assault on the Dakar Rally. And despite an intensive test build-up, the Spaniard admits he faces a tough challenge.
Asked if he felt ready, he said: “Listen, if I go there, to enjoy the experience - yes. If I go there to make the most of it - yes. But if I think of it in terms of winning Dakar, I don't feel ready.
“I'm perfectly aware of both my lack of experience. I think you know, there are races that I attempted, like Indy, or Le Mans or Daytona, I felt quite competitive and that I could good fight for victory. In Dakar I don't think I'm at that level.
“But I will play a different strategy. I will not be the fastest but hopefully I will be in a good position in the end.”