Ricciardo: Alonso has picked a good time to skip race for Indy 500

Red Bull Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo believes McLaren's Fernando Alonso has "picked a good time" to skip a race and make his Indianapolis 500 debut

Ricciardo: Alonso has picked a good time to skip race for Indy 500

Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May to contest the Indy 500 in a McLaren entry run by Honda squad Andretti Autosport.

Given Honda's struggles since returning to F1 in 2015, the street circuit has been McLaren's best track on the calendar, with fifth in last year's race equalling Alonso's best result since leaving Ferrari at the end of '14.

While Ricciardo says he "wouldn't want to miss Monaco", he thinks 35-year-old Alonso has picked a good window to branch out.

"Fernando is missing a good one," he said. "Then again, if you're not fighting at the front, it can be a long race around there.

"It's cool that he's doing it. He's picked a good time to do it.

"It's an opportunity and he can do it with a good team as well. I sense his frustrations, his position in F1 at the moment.

"If he's been given that opportunity, I probably would take it as well, in his position, at his age."

NASCAR fan Ricciardo says he would be more inclined to try the Daytona 500 over the Indy 500, but does not have any extracurricular racing on his mind just yet.

"It could open up some doors," he said of Alonso's move.

"I guess, probably more at the tail end of my F1 career, I'd be looking more at my options.

"Now, nothing seems that attractive. Now I want a faster F1 car, as opposed to a fast IndyCar or something."

F1 world champion and Indy 500 winner Mario Andretti, who remains closely involved in his son Michael's IndyCar team, agreed that Alonso has picked a great time to make his Indy 500 debut.

"The timing couldn't be better, this is the perfect opportunity for Fernando because he has nothing really going on in Formula 1 currently," Andretti told Autosport.

"McLaren are not contenders at the moment, but he is still in his prime.

"So while he's still so vibrant, this shot at Indianapolis is truly awesome for him, for McLaren, Honda, for Michael's team, for IndyCar.

"Even though Monaco is probably the most suitable circuit for McLaren this year, by being in Indy, Fernando is going to come away from that weekend happier than if he was over there in his usual car.

"I think that's what he's hoping and expecting, as well."

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