IndyCar drivers have reacted with surprise and excitement at the news Fernando Alonso will join them for this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Here’s what some of them had to say:
I’m excited. It’s huge for IndyCar. But motor racing in general, I think we’ve seen a little bit of people crossing over from NASCAR to IndyCar and vice-versa. But it’s been some time since we’ve seen someone coming in from Formula One. Especially this weekend, the Indianapolis 500, we know it’s also their marquee event in Monaco. And for Alonso to make a decision like that to come in for a one-off requires a lot of confidence. I think all of us were somewhat shocked but also so excited to have someone of his calibre and someone with his racing background to come and join the greatest spectacle in racing.
Obviously there’s a lot of political things that make these [moves] tough but I think everybody would love to have the opportunity to switch racecrafts. I’ve talked to Chip [Ganassi, team boss] before about trying a [NASCAR] Cup car at some stage. Formula One has never really been an option for most people once you’re in your series it sticks that way. Obviously right now I think with what Alonso’s doing it definitely opens some options. Maybe Honda can give me a ride in Formula One!
Scott Dixon, four-times IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner
When the announcement came out I thought someone was late on hitting ‘send’ on an April Fool’s joke, to be honest. The first thought was just surprise that a driver as competitive and as committed as Fernando was willing to miss Formula One’s crown jewel race at Monaco to do anything else. But then it makes me think the other way, it just shows how much value the Indy 500 has and how special it is to racing drivers all over the world, not just here in North America. For him to miss, of all races, Monaco to come and race the 500 for us, it just shows how much it means to him.
If I were to give Fernando Alonso some advice into really getting ingrained in the Andretti Autosport team, I think it’s actually going to be pretty easy. He already knows Takuma [Sato] and [Alexander] Rossi from their stints in F1. So that’s done and dusted. He loves running so him and Marco [Andretti] are going to be able to knock out 5Ks every morning which is going to be great. I don’t know if he’s a fisherman but he maybe should brush up on that a little bit because all Ryan [Hunter-Reay] really talks about is boats. Other than that I think it’s going to be pretty easy for him.
James Hinchcliffe, five-times IndyCar race winner
I think it’s even broader than that, I think it’s big news for the sport. It’s going to be fun to be able to work with him and see if he can bring a new type of thinking to it. What he thinks of it. I’m kind of liking that the F1 guys are more open to coming over, they used to think we’re crazy but now, I think Rossi winning it might entice them a little bit. It’s going to be fun all the way through the month to work with him. I’ve always looked up to him as a driver as well. It’s good for everybody.
We’ll see how he comes up to speed and stuff like that but I’m sure he’ll be fine. Alex won it, it’s a decent comparison, I think, to him.
Marco Andretti, two-times IndyCar race winer, one of Alonso’s team mates
Welcome to the team Fernando Alonso! The epitome of a true racer. Huge undertaking, big crossover taking it head on. Look fwd to working w/you
Ryan Hunter-Reay, Indianapolis 500 winner, IndyCar champion and one of Alonso’s team mates
I love the history of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Happy to see McLaren return to the speedway after 38 years. Congratulations Zak Brown, IndyCar, Honda and all involved.
As a McLaren Young Driver of the year Award Winner in 2007, glad I was able to do my part to help McLaren, Alonso and Brown be in the Indy 500.
Don’t discount how much this race means to me. I’ll be working hard as an ambassador for my sponsors in May 2017 and looking forward to 2018. This was a decision that was for the greater good of my sponsors (IN Donor Network and Gap Guard), IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500
Also, so pumped for Michael Shank Racing! Would have been a fun month together, but over the moon that you have your shot in the Indy 500.
Stefan Wilson, two-times IndyCar race starter who relinquished his Indy 500 seat for Alonso
Fantastic news this morning! Excited to race Alonso and McLaren in the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti this year!
Simon Pagenaud, reigning IndyCar champion
Welcome to the greatest race in the world Fernando Alonso. You will have a lot fun.
Tony Kanaan, Indianapolis 500 winner
Welcome Fernando Alonso and McLaren to the greatest race in the world.
Josef Newgarden, three-times IndyCar race winer
Welcome to the fastest motor race in the world Fernando Alonso! Great to have a world champion on the grid.
Not gonna lie, pretty pumped to see Fernando Alonso in an IndyCar for the Indy 500. Nice work by Zan Broan and McLaren. Welcome Fernando!
Zak Brown is a marketer and innovator. Passionate about the Indy 500 and F1, I’m sure did everything he could to make the Alonso deal happen.
Graham Rahal, four-times IndyCar race winner
The Indy 500 is like no other race in the world! Welcome to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar.
Charlie Kimball, IndyCar race winner
Obviously you need some balls to do it. I think that Alonso will handle it well. He has pretty big experience in racing. It will be interesting because oval is very unique racing.
Woo. I get to race against Fernando Alonso now that is cool.
Another legend in the 500 this year. This will be epic.
Huge respect for him taking the 500 challenge, don’t know of any other F1 driver that would have the b***s to do it!
This is just f****** awesome. Welcome!
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