Anyone following F1 for the last few years will know Fernando Alonso’s frustration. While performing well during his stint with Ferrari, the car was never quite up to snuff. The temperamental Spaniard suffered well at Ferrari, and moved to McLaren-Honda at an inopportune time. The partnership between McLaren and Honda proved fruitful in the past, but this time around, the Honda powerplant continues to disappoint Alonso, who probably regrets having moved to McLaren at all.
Alonso has never been shy of speaking his mind regarding the state of his team. Yes, he knows some diplomacy, but the idea of “presenting a unified front” doesn’t appeal to him. He took a fair share of flak while condemning the car at Ferrari, but at McLaren, the team almost seems in silent accordance with him.
Some of that has to do with the new management and its laid-back, broad-minded approach to motorsport. Over the weekend of the Chinese Grand Prix, Alonso and McLaren CEO Zak Brown the possibility, and with a night’s sleep, Alonso decided to run the oval of ovals. Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport will provide the car, and Honda will provide the powerplant, which is much more competitive in Indycar than the Honda unit in F1.
It’s rare to hear of someone moving from F1 to Indycar, much less a top driver, though it’s by no means a huge surprise. Alonso has suggested his interest in driving the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Indy 500 is another household name that has, historically, attracted a few stars from across the pond.
Recent winners of the Indy 500 who’ve made the transfer from F1 include Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya. Arguably as talented as them, Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix to make the event, and his F1 seat will likely be filled in by recent retiree Jenson Button, though an official announcement hasn’t been made yet. Monaco is one place Alonso can afford to miss, since his personal aim is to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, which includes the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Having won the Monaco twice, Alonso will be one step closer to the elusive title if he wins Indy. For the record, the only other driver to win the triple crown is Graham Hill, who achieved it nearly fifty years ago. Nowadays, drivers cannot move between categories with as easily as they could in the sixties, but if anyone can do it today, it’s the Matador.