It appears that Fernando Alonso’s window to win the Indianapolis 500 and complete racing’s Triple Crown might have closed.
Alonso, 39, is back in Formula 1 and is passing on the Indianapolis 500 this year after giving the race a shot in 2017, 2019 and again last year. He was impressive in 2017, leading 27 laps before engine trouble derailed the effort early and resulted in a 24th-place finish.
In 2019, Alonso failed to qualify for the 500, and in 2020 he finished an uninspiring 21st for Arrow McLaren SP. For now, anyway, the two-time Formula 1 champion will have to settle for wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and at the F1 Monaco Grand Prix and two-third of racing’s ultimate trifecta.
Alonso, who is driving for Alpine in Formula 1, was asked at Imola, Italy, on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix if he thought the Indianapolis 500 was a race that can’t be won as a one-off effort. To win that race, it was suggested, a driver would have to commit to a year in the IndyCar series, or at least take in all the oval races in preparation.
Alonso wasn’t so sure.
“Who knows who is right and who is not right,” Alonso said. “We all have different opinions and different point of views on how to race or how to achieve goals. For sure, what the other people say about your own goals or your own dreams will not affect your thinking or your way to see things.
“So, if I do it again, it’s going to be for a dream of the Triple Crown or try to achieve the win. You don’t do that type of race just for fun. I don’t know if I will do it again or not. If I don’t do it again, it’s not because someone else said I will not be able to win it. If I don’t do it again, it’s because I don’t feel the motivation to do it.”
Lando Norris, who has followed Alonso into a Formula 1 drive with McLaren, was then asked if he’d be interested in a similar McLaren effort for the Indianapolis 500.
The 21-year-old Norris paused, and then he leaned over to Alonso.
“Is it scary?” Norris asked.
“Very scary,” Alonso answered without hesitation.
After a nervous laugh, Lando said, “It’s not something I’d say no to. I would need to try it and see what it’s like first. Give it a little test or something. I think I have my aim and my focus for the time being in Formula 1. Maybe in the future, it is something I would think about it a little bit more.
“It’s definitely something I wouldn’t say no to if I got a test or something in the future.”