Spaniard snubs Fernando Alonso for Lewis Hamilton

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have been fierce rivals ever since their sole season together at McLaren in 2007.

F1 Academy championship leader Marta Garcia has revealed that she prefers Lewis Hamilton, despite fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso being a hero back home.

Garcia is on the cusps of becoming the first ever F1 Academy Champion, with her leading the standings by 48 points with just one event remaining.

The final event takes places in October at the Circuit of the Americas, as part of the support bill for the United States Grand Prix.

Being from Spain, Garcia has seen the popularity that Alonso has, who continues to be a leading figure in F1 despite being 42 years old.

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Alonso has been an influence on Garcia’s career, with the F1 Academy driver having preferred Alonso when she was younger.

However, she now likes Hamilton and has revealed the influence the seven-time World Champion has had on helping her “pursuing my goals”.

“Oops. Well, no. I’m not going to lie either. When I was a kid, I did favor Alonso, because, in the end, he was the Spanish driver who was winning,” Garcia told Marca.

“As I grew older and became more immersed in the world of motorsport, I really liked and still do like Lewis (Hamilton) a lot. Both on and off the track. I feel he has influenced me in pursuing my goals. I identify with him more. He’s been my reference in recent years.”

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With her set to seal the F1 Academy title, she’ll get herself a step closer perhaps to reaching her main goal, progressing to F1.

A female driver hasn’t participated in an F1 session since 2014, when Susie Wolff drove for Williams in Free Practice 1 at the British Grand Prix.

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Whilst F1 Academy is helping promote female drivers, Garcia believes the FIA need to do more to get a woman back into F1, which she can’t see happening for “another seven or eight years”.

“There are still a few years to go,” admitted Garcia.

“A step has been taken with the F1 Academy, but the FIA also has work to do. The seat in their cars is designed for a man, so it’s harder for us girls to reach the pedals. I believe the intention for our presence is growing, but I don’t think we’ll see a woman in Formula 1 for another seven or eight years. Hopefully, it could be less.”