Jenson Button criticizes Fernando Alonso’s race move

Jenson Button criticizes Fernando Alonso’s race move

Jenson Button has criticized the decision to move October’s Japanese round of the World Endurance Championship so Fernando Alonso can compete in it.

Alonso has added the sportscar season with Toyota to his F1 commitments at McLaren this year but was due to miss the Fuji round on October 21 as it clashed with F1’s United States GP.

However, WEC organisers have moved their race forward a week, to October 14, so Alonso is now free to drive.

But the change has created a racing clash with Japan’s Super GT series, a category Button, Alonso’s former McLaren team-mate, is now racing in. Super GT hold their penultimate round at the Autopolis circuit on the same weekend.

Button tweeted: “It’s a shame that a race is changed for one driver when the change hurts so many other drivers who have contracts in place.

“But also other categories like IMSA and Super GT where a clash will hurt their fan base.”

The WEC change means Alonso adds an extra race weekend to his mammoth 2018 season. In addition to 21 F1 GP weekends, the Spaniard has committed to five sportscar events – including the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

The 36-year-old now has two separate sequences of five race weekends in a row during the year. He will race on five in succession across June and July and then again from the end of September to the end of October.

But McLaren have insisted the unusual programme for a modern-day F1 driver will not tire the two-time world champion out.

“He races or drives every weekend, he just wants to be in race cars,” McLaren chief Zak Brown told reporters last week. “Fernando is very well prepared, knows what it takes to be successful and he wouldn’t have taken on the additional commitment if he didn’t think he could do both at the highest level.

“Definitely, it is no other agenda than he wants to race and he wants to win.”