Mumbai: Two-time world champion and McLaren’s star driver, Fernando Alonso is going to miss the Monaco Grand Prix, which is scheduled on May 28 and join the Indy500. The 35-year-old will race in a Honda-powered car and McLaren will still be as his pit crew. The team which he is going to stand for is, non-other than Andretti Autosport team formed by former McLaren driver Michael Andretti. McLaren who entered in Indy500 in 1970 will be joining their rivals at Indianapolis circuit.
In a statement given by him to the F1 reporters, he said, “The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix and it’s, of course, a regret of mine that I won’t be able to race at Monaco this year.”
He added, “I’ve won the Monaco Grand Prix twice [in 2006 and 2007], and it’s one of my ambitions to win the Triple Crown [the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours], which has been achieved by only one driver in the history of motor sport: Graham Hill. It’s a tough challenge, but I’m up for it. I don’t know when I’m going to race at Le Mans, but one day I intend to. I’m only 35: I’ve got plenty of time for that.”
Now, it’s still unclear that who is most likely to replace Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix well, McLaren has not confirmed about who will drive their car on 28th but it could be Jenson Button as he is under the contract which gives him the position of a reserve driver as well as the ambassadorial role for the team.
Earlier, this year McLaren had signed a 17-year-old Brit Lando Norris from their young driver program.
Amid frustration in the McLaren-Honda camp, this is Alonso’s third and final year at McLaren. The Spaniard, because of the technical problems his car(MCL32) faced in the opening two races has been forced to retire in both of them.
His last win was with Ferrari in 2013, Spanish GP with Scuderia Ferrari and since he joined McLaren (2015) he hasn’t achieved a place in the grid higher than fifth.
Zac Brown executive director (McLaren America) will be there at Indianapolis and is confident about the race said, “Could Fernando win this year’s Indy 500? Well, I wouldn’t be so silly as to make any such rash prediction, but I expect him to be in the mix,”
He added, “Put it this way: the team he’ll be racing for won the race last year, using the same Honda engine, and he’s the best racing driver in the world. That’s quite a compelling combination.”
Although, the F1 team has been struggling to keep up their reputation but at the Indy’s the story is a bit different, with two cars winning they have a winning chance with a legend like Fernando Alonso on their side.
(With inputs from Formula1 and BBC)