Alonso Skips Monaco Grand Prix For 2017; Will Race Indy 500
Following a difficult start of the year with the McLaren-Honda Formula One Team, Fernando Alonso announced Wednesday that he will skip the Monaco grand prix on Memorial Day weekend and race for Andretti motorsport at the Indianapolis 500.
Expressing a disappointment in his F1 car after failing to finish the first two rounds of the season, the Spaniard decided to opt for the American classic to try a new challenge in placing a McLaren entry in the race for the first time in 38 years. The car will be equipped with a 2.2 liter V-6 engine, which to Alonso is very impressive.
“I'm immensely excited that I'll be racing in this year's Indy 500," Alonso 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.
"But Monaco will be the only 2017 Grand Prix I'll be missing, and I'll be back in the cockpit of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in early June. "I've never raced an IndyCar car before, and neither have I ever driven on a super-speedway, but I'm confident that I'll get to grips with it fast. I've watched a lot of IndyCar action on TV and online, and it's clear that great precision is required to race in close proximity with other cars on the far side of 220mph [354km/h].
I realize I'll be on a steep learning curve, but I'll be flying to Indianapolis from Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix, practicing our McLaren-Honda-Andretti car at Indy from May 15th onwards, hopefully clocking up a large number of miles every day, and I know how good the Andretti Autosport guys are. I'll be proud to race with them, and I intend to mine their knowledge and expertise for as much info as I possibly can.
I've won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, 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 motorsport: 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.”
It is still a question of who will replace Alonso at Monaco, but stories circulating around indicate that tester and former McLaren pilot Jenson Button could fill the void for the race at the principality, considering he is taking a sabbatical from motor racing.
A 16 year veteran of writing formula one racing weekend race reports, features and team launches, Mark has worked for such companies as all-sports, e-sports, The Munich Eye newspaper in Germany, racingnation.com and Autoweek. A former member for this site four years ago, Mark now is a contributor for R.I.S.