With the final Formula One season coming to a close for two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso, fans and media alike have been anticipating an announcement as to where the Spaniard will race next. Today we got our first answer. McLaren announced Saturday (Nov. 10) that Alonso will be racing in the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) November 10, 2018
This will be Alonso’s second Indianapolis 500 after he famously skipped the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix to run in the event for McLaren-Honda Andretti. Alonso qualified fifth for the for the event and led 27 laps before his engine gave out on lap 180. A fate that Alonso suffered many times while running the McLaren-Honda F1 car. With a little more experience under his belt in an IndyCar, and time to acclimate himself to the environment of IndyCar racing, Alonso is poised to go for the win next May.
“We are relishing our return to the Brickyard and this incredible race. McLaren has a long and fond relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and it’s a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando.” McLaren CEO Zak Brown stated in the release put out by McLaren. “No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it’s a massive challenge. 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.”
The move is not too much of a surprise as many believed that INDYCAR could be a future landing spot for the 2005 and 2006 F1 World Champion. However, announcing that he will only run the 500 means that running full-time in INDYCAR is not in the cards just yet for Alonso. He is looking to make another push for racing’s triple crown, the Monaco Grand Prix (check) and the 24-Hours of Le Mans (check), now only one race stands between Alonso and joining a legendary racing fraternity.
“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. I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren.” Alonso stated in the press release. “This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I’m delighted they’ve decided to go ahead. 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. One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic.”
McLaren stated that more information surrounding Alonso’s participation will be announced as the event draws closer.