Fernando Alonso isn’t returning to Formula One next season, but that doesn’t mean he’s done with racing – or done with McLaren. The team has announced that it will once again support its star driver in contesting the Indianapolis 500 next year.
As you may recall, both team and driver competed together at Indy last year. Alonso even led the race for several laps before being forced to retire towards the end. But as McLaren Racing chief Zak Brown put it, “it’s a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando.”
“No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it’s a massive challenge,” continued Brown. “We have the utmost respect for the race and our competitors. So, we are under no illusions. But McLaren are racers first and foremost, as is Fernando. We’re going for it.”
Next year, then, will mark the second time Alonso will run at Indy – but not McLaren’s. The team won the race in 1972 (with a private entry) and again (as a works team) in ’74 and ’76.
If the two-time world champion can make a go of it this time around, he’ll become the only living driver to win the unofficial Triple Crown of motorsport, having already won the Monaco Grand Prix (twice) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown. I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there,” said Alonso. “It’s a tough race and we’ll be up against the best, so it will be a huge challenge. But we’re racers and that’s why we race.”