On Saturday (Aug. 11), Fernando Alonso put the entire motorsports world on its toes. Today, he gave them a reason why, when he announced that he would be retiring from Formula 1 at the end of the 2018 season.
There’s been speculation that he could cross the pond and race in North America’s most prestigious open-wheel series, IndyCar.
Alonso, 37, has competed with McLaren’s F1 program since 2015. He left Ferrari after the 2014 season because he felt the legendary F1 team was incapable of producing a championship-winning car for him. As it turned out, things were much worse with McLaren.
Now in his fourth year with the team, he’s failed to lead a single lap or earn a podium. Last year, he skipped F1’s most prestigious event, the Monaco Grand Prix, in favor of running the 101st Indianapolis 500.
Alonso qualified fifth and led 27 laps in the 500, but a Honda engine failure ended his race 21 laps short of the finish.
Alonso has won Monaco twice and hopes to become the second driver in history to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, that being Monaco, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His Indy performance demonstrated that he the potential and his victory with Toyota Gazoo Racing in his first attempt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans earlier this year surely furthered his desires to complete the treble.
It would only make sense for him to come to the U.S. and be competitive again, right? Sure, he’d take an enormous pay cut racing in IndyCar instead of F1, but financially, he’s set for life. At this point, it should be about legacy. Does he want to be remembered as a great F1 driver who went out with a limp during McLaren’s dark days, or does he want to retire from racing knowing he gave everything he could to join Graham Hill as the only triple crown winners?