Alonso hopes London F1 event "first of many"

Fernando Alonso says that the F1 Live event in London on Wednesday created new fans of the sport, and offers a model that could be repeated elsewhere.

Alonso hopes London F1 event "first of many"
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, meets some fans
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari

Alonso didn't actually drive a car on Wednesday, although he made a well-received appearance on the Trafalgar Square stage – from where he filmed the crowd with his phone.

"I think it was good," said the Spaniard. "Especially the last couple of laps, when all the cars were in the street together. Obviously it helps, the noise of the V8s, the old cars, to make a better show.

"For many people there it was the first time they watched F1. I read some of the comments, and some of the fans wrote to me on social media and things like that. Definitely they want to come now to a grand prix.

"That was the main purpose of the event, to engage new people, and to show what F1 is to a new generation, and new people there. Hopefully this is the first of many of these events. It's nice in these big cities to run with F1 in these historic places."

Alonso added it would be good to take an F1 'roadshow' to places that don't have a grand prix.

"It was great for some of the people there, maybe 20 percent, 30 percent, it was the first time they saw F1 live," he said.

"Because of that show they want to come to an F1 grand prix, so that will be more interesting in countries that don't have that possibility. I think it's a good idea."

Sebastian Vettel also received a good reception from the crowd, despite the fact that he is engaged in a battle for the championship with local hero Lewis Hamilton.

"I enjoyed it very much," said the Ferrari driver. "I think it was something unique, to have central London partly shut down to have us running up and down, so it was nice.

"It's always nice to get close to the people and most of them seemed to be very excited. Usually there's quite a big passion for racing in this country, so it's great to be here."

Asked about Hamilton's absence, he said: "I don't care, to be honest. I think it's something we were asked to do and I said yes – it's not many times in your life you get this kind of opportunity.

"It turned out to be a great event, a fun event for us as well as for the people, so I guess that's a win-win but everyone was free to choose if they said yes or no. Ask him."

Vettel's teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who shared driving duties in the 2015 Ferrari, was also impressed by the event.

"Usually when we do something driving-wise, the shows are done by the team or sponsors," said the Finn. "Everyone was involved, more or less, here. it was something different than we have done before.

"It was nice for the people to see the cars. it's not like we run a lot, we did a bit on a small area but it's better than nothing. A lot of people haven't had a chance to come and see.

"They get very close, it's not high-speed but you can feel the atmosphere."

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