Baku, March 2, AZERTAC
Baku City Circuit (BCC) has today announced two-time Formula 1 World Champion and current McLaren Honda driver, Fernando Alonso, as the official ambassador for the 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe.
Alonso counts as one of the most successful and popular drivers in F1's history, with two world titles, 32 Grand Prix victories and 97 podium finishes to his name. Fittingly, he is one of only a few select drivers to have won a Formula 1 European Grand Prix, having secured first place at the event on three previous occasions including his memorable 2012 triumph in Valencia, which also happened to be the most recent edition of this historic Grand Prix.
As part of his role, Alonso will visit Baku for two days on March 8th - 9th. In doing so, he becomes the first F1 driver visit Baku, where he will observe the progress being made on the city's streets as the Baku City Circuit nears completion. During his visit, he will be able to see first-hand some of the many challenges that await his McLaren this summer, including the soon-to-be iconic sequence of narrow uphill, winding turns along Baku's Old Town walls and the main straight where cars are estimated to hit speeds of up to 340 km/h. In addition, he will also spend time in Baku engaging with both local and international media, fans and in particular with the many 2016 Formula 1 Grand Prix of Europe volunteers and marshals who are currently undergoing extensive training ahead of F1's arrival in Azerbaijan.
Commenting on the news, Alonso said: "I am thrilled be chosen as an ambassador for the 2016 FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE. It is a real honour to be the first F1 driver to visit Baku and inspect the new circuit facilities. I have heard and read many great things about the city and am immensely looking forward to seeing it for myself very soon. Having won three European Grand Prixs in my career, it seems a good fit for me to help promote the race's return to the F1 calendar in this wonderful new location. In fact, the manner in which I won the last edition of the European Grand Prix in Valencia ensured that I would be forever emotionally linked to this particular race. From a technical point of view, I'm sure myself and my colleagues will love racing here in Baku, given that a street circuit is always an exhilarating challenge for any driver and from what I have already learned about this circuit, it seems clear that this one will be no exception."
Baku City Circuit's Executive Director, Arif Rahimov also expressed his delight at today's announcement: "We are absolutely delighted with today's announcement and can not wait to welcome Fernando to our beautiful city and show him the sights and sounds that will make this Grand Prix one of the highlights of the F1 season. With our track-build progressing daily, this is the perfect time to showcase Baku City Circuit and its many unique characteristics to one of the sport's greatest drivers. I am sure he will relish the opportunity to acquaint himself with the circuit before he races here in June. To have the support of a two-time Formula 1 World Champion and all round sporting great such as Fernando Alonso is truly invaluable to us. Welcome to Baku, Fernando!"