Phil Hanson: Alonso doesn’t have the golden key.
An 18-year-old with more experience than Formula 1 superstar Fernando Alonso? At United Autosports in Daytona there was a somewhat curious distribution of roles
During Fernando Alonso’s Daytona debut, the young United Car Sports colleagues Lando Norris and Phil Hanson were somewhat overshadowed by the “great Spaniard”. All eyes were on the superstar from Formula 1, who – like McLaren-Youngster Lando Norris – competed for the first time in a 24-hour race. Alonso running a rookie squad? Not at all. The only 18-year-old Phil Hanson brought his long-distance experience to bear Alonso and Norris on the track.
“The cooperation was really great”, Hanson describes in conversation with’ Motorsport-Total. com’. The young racing driver from London had already competed in his first LMP3 races at the age of 16, and made his debut in Le Mans a year later. In the United-Autosports-Ligier with starting number 23 Hanson was “the old hand”. He gave the inquisitive Asturian plenty of tips on driving in prototypes and manoeuvring in heavy traffic.
And vice versa?”He actually showed us a few little things about driving. However, it is not the case that he somehow managed to pass on the golden key for two world championships,”Hanson laughs at the question of which tricks he could pick up from the famous Formula 1 star,”There was more to learn off the track. Preparation, approach in briefings and feedback – I was able to take a lot with me. I hope that I will be able to bring this to bear soon.”
Alonso completed the 24 hours of Daytona in preparation for his WEC involvement in the Toyota TS050. In June, the McLaren superstar’s dream of participating in the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans came true:”It felt to me like Daytona was more of a fan than Le Mans. It was a great experience,”says Hanson. From the point of view of the young Brit, the battle in Florida was a perfect training camp for long-distance newcomers like Alonso.
“It was so incredibly crowded on the track. On a lap of about 100 seconds, 60 cars are on their way. You are constantly in traffic, you don’t have to overtake one car per lap, but six, seven or even ten. It’s incredibly hectic. Daytona is unique in this respect,”says Hanson,”Unfortunately, our race did not go according to plan. We’ve had many problems that have thrown us far behind.”
“When our car was running reasonably and steadily, we had a good pace. Especially at night we were able to show off,”says the Briton. Lando Norris (1:38.011 minutes) and Fernando Alonso (1:38.152) were one second better on their fastest laps than Hanson, who played with a “controlled offensive”:”If you have a car like the Cadillac, which is ahead of the pace anyway, then you can drive with 95 percent. We, on the other hand, always had to attack fully, all the time.”
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