DECEMBER 28, 2016

Alonso is Vandoorne's worst enemy says Ickx

Stoffel Vandoorne's "worst enemy" in 2017 will be his highly rated teammate Fernando Alonso.

Stoffel Vandoorne's worst enemy in 2017 will be his highly rated teammate Fernando Alonso.

That is the claim of F1 legend Jacky Ickx, a Belgian driver of the 60s and 70s who told Le Soir newspaper that he will be cheering for countryman Vandoorne in 2017.

In fact, 71-year-old Ickx met with Vandoorne, 24, for the Le Soir interview, and said: "Now you have to start the year with one thing in mind -- your worst enemy is Alonso!

"I do not say that unkindly, but you must have only one aim -- to be faster than him," added Ickx.

Vandoorne, the 2015 GP2 champion, will make his full F1 debut next year with McLaren-Honda.

"As with Max Verstappen in the Netherlands, I hope Stoffel now creates the same enthusiasm in Belgium," Ickx added.

As for the state of the sport more generally, Ickx said he hopes the major rule changes for 2017 go some way to improving formula one.

"F1 and even motor sport in general are struggling to meet public aspirations," he said.

"People come to see a show and heroes, not cars spending an infinite amount of time behind a safety car just because it rains," added Ickx.