Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Fernando Alonso Indy 500: McLaren F1 driver tipped to be 'in the mix'

McLaren and Andretti Autosport have tipped Fernando Alonso to be "in the mix" when he contests this year's Indianapolis 500 instead of racing in Formula 1's Monaco Grand Prix

The shock news that McLaren will enter a car with Michael Andretti's Honda-powered team for its star F1 driver broke on Wednesday, with Alonso stating his desire to win motorsport's 'triple crown' of the Monaco GP, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.

While Alonso has never raced on an oval or competed in an IndyCar race, his team bosses believe he will be competitive on his debut next month.

McLaren executive director Zak Brown 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.

"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. So, yes, as I say, he'll be in the mix.

"OK, equally, he'll have his work cut out to acclimatise to running at superspeedway velocities, but ultimately it's quality that counts in all forms of motorsport, and Fernando is very definitely quality.

"He's ballsy and brave too. Also, the differences between Formula 1 cars and IndyCars are less marked now than they were in the past.

"I'll be at Indy to see McLaren's return to the Brickyard, and I'll be a happy man on that day.

"But I'll be in constant contact with Eric [Boullier], who'll be running McLaren-Honda's Formula 1 operation at Monaco as per usual."

Andretti, who made 13 starts for McLaren in the 1993 F1 season, believes his team, McLaren and Honda have "laid the foundation for a successful month of May".

"Fernando's lack of experience on super-speedways is not of concern to me," he said.

"I do believe that the Indianapolis 500 is one of the best places for a rookie to start because there is the opportunity for so much practice time on the track - and, as we have demonstrated [with Alexander Rossi in 2016], it can be won by a rookie.

"Fernando is a great talent and I have full confidence that he will represent very strongly for McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport.

"Fernando's addition to the team takes our stable of entries to six. This sharing of experience and knowledge is what makes Andretti Autosport stand out and gives us that extra competitive edge."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Fernando Alonso to race in 2017 Indianapolis 500
Next article Fernando Alonso Indy 500 bid part of desire to win 'triple crown'

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe