Last year, it seemed clear that Fernando Alonso would be joining Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg in a F1 super-team lineup for Porsche at the 2015 Le Mans 24 hours.
The reasons Spaniard Alonso ultimately did not join in have this week been the subject of media speculation.
Finland’s Ilta Sanomat claims Alonso, 33, was banned from participating due to a clause in his new McLaren-Honda contract.
The report said McLaren decided to trigger the ban on the grounds of safety, following the horror crash suffered by Australian Webber at the wheel of the Porsche at Interlagos in late November.
Spain’s Marca also claims that Alonso had a deal in place with Porsche to – like Hulkenberg – split his time in 2015 between F1 and the key sports car races this year at Spa and Le Mans.
The agreement had “the support of McLaren until the inclusion of the Korean grand prix on the first official calendar for the 2015 season”, the sports daily said.
The Korean race, although ultimately dropped, was never taken seriously by the international media, but its May 3 date created a scheduling clash with the world endurance championship’s 6-hour Spa race.
“Everything was set in stone until the release on December 3 of the strange official calendar (featuring Korea),” said Marca.
The report added: “Alonso took it as a manoeuvre by (Bernie Ecclestone’s) FOM to put up a barrier, although fictitious, to F1 drivers increasingly interested” in combining Le Mans with their full-time grand prix duties. (GMM)