JANUARY 18, 2017
Alonso not afraid of rookie Vandoorne
Fernando Alonso says he is "not worried" even though he has a rookie teammate for 2017.
It is now a full decade ago that the Spaniard, then as a reigning back-to-back champion, thought he had a clear run at McLaren only to be paired with rookie Lewis Hamilton.
Now, history could repeat itself at the Woking team, as Honda-powered McLaren pair 35-year-old Alonso with highly rated rookie Stoffel Vandoorne for 2017.
Alonso admits the Belgian is good, as he watched him make his one-off race debut last year while recovering from his Melbourne crash.
"Being a rookie and getting a result immediately is not easy, but he did very well," he is quoted by the Spanish sports daily AS.
Nonetheless, Alonso said he is not worried now that Vandoorne is replacing the retiring Jenson Button full-time.
"I remember when I went back to Renault I had (Nelson) Piquet. Then came (Romain) Grosjean who was also going to be very fast and was not.
"The same happened (at Ferrari) with Felipe (Massa): he was at Ferrari for many years and he was not faster. Then Kimi (Raikkonen), who everyone said is a world champion but he was not faster.
"So let's see what happens now. I'm not worried, I'm not afraid," said Alonso.
"He (Vandoorne) is not a driver to fight for the title against me now, because our goal is something else. We must fight but also work together and help the team to make this difficult period as short as possible.
"He (Vandoorne) is a very good driver, he brings fresh air, he's very talented as he demonstrated in GP2 and in Japan last year," Alonso concluded.