F1 figures not keen on Le Mans

Fri, 13 June 2008, 08:26

Leading figures of the formula one world have said they will not be mesmerised by one of the world’s most famous motor races this weekend.

A plethora of names made famous on formula one tracks are this year in contention for the Le Mans 24-hour crown.

But McLaren team boss Ron Dennis insists that the endurance race is no match for F1 in his eyes.

“No comparison,” he told the International Herald Tribune.

“You have to have phenomenal reliability, but also the drivers play such a key role, primarily in not falling off.

“It’s rarely a race that’s raced from beginning to end. You don’t race for 24 hours, you compete for 24 hours and it requires a different strategy,” Dennis, whose Woking based outfit developed a car that won Le Mans in 1995, added.

“There’s no race,” he continued. “They all suddenly realise that survival is the important thing. It is counter to the spirit of formula one; you very rarely slow down in formula one.”

Honda team principal Ross Brawn has also been involved in Le Mans, with the winning Jaguar car of 1990, before returning to F1 with enormous success.

“It was not the sort of challenge that I like,” he concurs.

“It’s a very structured race over 24 hours, you’re pacing yourself. It’s quite a different event.”

Canadian grand prix winner Robert Kubica is a renowned fan of rallying, but he admits that he has never even watched Le Mans on TV.

“Speed is secondary,” he said, referring to the fact that the focus at Le Mans is on consistency and reliability.

“I’m the kind of person who likes to push. At Le Mans, you have to push less. It’s a kind of different sport,” the BMW-Sauber driver added.

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