Fernando Alonso has had a rough past few seasons in Formula One. The two-time world champion has scored all of two points this season, and hasn’t landed on the podium since 2014 – and that comes more down to his car than his skills.
Both he and McLaren have now targeted September as the cut-off for determining their future prospects. If things don’t shape up for McLaren, it could seek to ditch the Honda engines that have given it such problems. And if things don’t improve for Alonso, he could leave F1 altogether.
Where to, then, for the former world champion? Indy, maybe. Fernando’s said that his run in the Indianapolis 500 earlier this summer was the only positive moment of this year so far, and could end up more attracted to greener pastures in America than his prospects in Formula One – especially with McLaren-Honda so drastically underperforming, and no other top team showing any interest in picking him up.
Let’s see in a month or so,” Alonso said in a report run by AutoWeek. “I’ve always said I’m very open to what may come in the future. I want to win next year and to win we need some good changes here (at McLaren). Many changes. If those happen, it is possible I stay, but it’s something I will consider in September.”
Even if he does make the switch, we wouldn’t rule out entirely the possibility of his returning to grand prix racing at some point in the future. His former teammate Kimi Raikkonen left F1 in 2009 when opportunities to stay didn’t entice him, spent a couple of seasons trying his hand at rallying and NASCAR, then returned in 2012. But he’s only won two grands prix since then. And at 37 – just a year older than Alonso – he’s now looking at the end of his F1 career.
Alonso wouldn’t be the first F1 champ to switch to Indy and find success there. Emerson Fittipaldi and Nigel Mansell, for example, both won the Indy championships after their F1 titles. And the IndyCar roster this season alone is packed with former F1 drivers, including the past three Indy 500 winners: Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi, and Juan Pablo Montoya, as well as four-time series champion Sebastien Bourdais.