Fernando Alonso says he prefers the more restricted nature of the Formula 1 paddock compared to the greater freedom offered to fans in the World Endurance Championship, having found it “stressful” at times during his Spa race weekend.

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso made his WEC debut at Spa last Saturday, winning for Toyota from pole position at the first attempt alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Whereas the F1 paddock is not accessible for fans, WEC operates an open-paddock policy, leaving only the team hospitality units, motorhomes and garages off-limits.

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Alonso joked at Spa about the ways fans were flocking to try and catch a glimpse of him, saying: “Every time I go to the bathroom, it’s interesting. To go in with 40 or 50 people, apparently at that moment they all needed to go for a pee!”

Alonso returned to the F1 paddock on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, and said that he preferred the more closed-off nature as it made it less stressful for drivers to manage.

“I think I prefer this system in F1. It’s a little bit more under control, the paddock passes,” Alonso said.

“In WEC, especially until Saturday, with free access to the paddock, it was a little bit too much, a little bit stressful a couple of times.

“I think here is quite under control. I think if you open free entrance to the paddock here, we wold not even be able to walk, and we would hide even more.

"We will close ourselves even more in our motorhomes and things like that because you cannot do normal things. Then it will probably not be in the direction we want.

“We want to open the paddock and like these fans, they see the drivers and they can communicate a little bit more. Maybe it has the opposite reaction.

“So I think it’s good as it is and I think every championship has its own philosophy and I think it’s working quite OK for each category.

“I think it’s good as it is.”

 

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