Will Alonso race at Indianapolis again in 2018? “Probably not”, he admits

2018 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso admits he is unlikely to return to the Indianapolis 500 next year as the race clashes with the Monaco Grand Prix on the provisional 2018 F1 calendar.

The McLaren driver skipped the Monaco Grand Prix to race at Indy this year but said he will “probably not” do the same in 2018 as getting a competitive Formula One seat remains his top priority.

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“The first intention will be to be in Formula One and to be winning in Formula One,” said Alonso. “That puts Indy out of the possibilities. So that will be the first intention.”

“But it was also this year and things were not as planned it and we changed that opinion. But at the moment full focus on Formula One next year and winning.”

“Obviously in McLaren at the moment we are not very competitive,” he added. “We know that one of the parts, the engine side, is not competitive enough to win.”

“I’m sure that the team is exploring whatever possibility to make this competitive and hopefully next year McLaren will be in a different position. it’s what we all want. But in my case it’s independent to whatever engine they have. I just want to win and we see what happens.”

“There will be a lot of changes next year”

Alonso is one of several top drivers whose contracts will expire at the end of this season. He believes the upheaval in the 2018 driver market will be even greater than people expect.

“I don’t want to gamble too much in any decision,” he said. “I want to be more or less safe in whatever I go for.”

“I know that there are even more movements probably than we all know, some teams we think they are set for next year, I don’t think that is so clear that they are one hundred percent confirmed. I think there will be a lot of changes next year.”

“I will try to stay calm and pick up the best decision for next year.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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25 comments on “Will Alonso race at Indianapolis again in 2018? “Probably not”, he admits”

  1. Fred’s manager Briatore has burned many bridges in F1 with his corruption and lies . Should be an interesting off season.

    1. True, but the end result is one of the greats of F1.

      I don’t many (if any) would eliminate pursuing the services of Fernando on the basis of having to deal with Flavio.

      1. That is true, if someone is not pursuing Fernando’s services is based on having to deal with Alonso.

        *it’s a joke btw*

        1. …..wolf howl…….tumbleweed…….

          1. Wolff howl.

  2. So it was a one time thing…. He did pretty dam well in the race, the fans really appreciated him being there and he brought a whole new audience to Indy. People even watched him practice in huge numbers but he won’t miss Monaco like he did this year…this math doesn’t add up. Then again he did witness the danger that Indy has. The Dixon accident and bourdais breaking his pelvis

    1. Hes only mentioning 2018, and hes potentially on the drivers market soon. Hes not going to do any favors in regards to that if hes already stating he can’t race the full season!

      How I see it:
      Fernando races 2018 for another team = no Indy
      Fernando races 2018 for McLaren = clause in his contract that if he does not achieve X clause by a certain date he can race Indy. Bearing in mind he only announced this years plans 6 weeks before the race.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      23rd June 2017, 10:56

      I don’t think you can read anything into his comments. He’s already said he wants to stay in F1 and win races but if he can’t get a seat where that’s a possibility, he’ll leave.

      He’ll either risk another year at McLaren providing they get rid of Honda, he’ll have Kimi’s seat or he’ll have Bottas’ seat.

      Personally, I can’t see him going back to Ferrari and I don’t think Mercedes would want him so I think it all depends on McLaren and Honda. If they move to Mercedes engines, Fernando will race in F1 next year. If they stick with Honda, he’ll race in Indycar.

      1. I haven’t heard one good reason why he won’t be at Mercedes.

          1. Like I said…

  3. Most likely he will stay with McLaren. They are giving Honda a couple of more months to show huge improvement and if not, they must go with Merc or Renault engines which will keep Alonso there.

    Less likely, either Merc or RED will lose a WCC (lots of money and prestige) this season likely due to one of their driver’s average performance. The result could lead to Vettel or Hamilton having Alonso as a teammate next season.

    A lot of BS about ALO burning bridges. He supposedly burned bridges big time at McLaren and last I heard he is driving for them. It all comes down to money.

    Any tension at Merc or Ferrari wouldn’t be caused by Alonso so much as VET or HAM feeling the pressure of having to compete with him.

  4. Oh, man Lewis must be terrified of the possibility of Alonso coming to Mercedes next year! Not because he’d fear racing against him, but it would be a fairly certain sign that Mercedes F1 was finished.

    1. Yeah finished fooling around with a 1 and 2 and instead getting back to having two WDC’s on the team with which to fight Ferrari.

  5. There are only two options available. Stick with McLaren if they get a new engine, really want to see them get Ferrari engines. I want to see people conflicted over which supercar they buy out of Ferrari or McLarens.

    Go to Renault and build the team into winning again, Aka 2005, 2006.

    Red Bull promote from Torro Rosso so he is not going there. Haas, Williams and Force India can not afford him, unless he takes a pay cut. Williams would take him over Massa, but the pay cut thing.

    He won’t go Sauber because it is like being where he os now.

    Mercedes have their driver who is a fantastic qualifier(be honest, qualifying is not a strong skill for Alonso). And races like he has eaten too much chilli, “Finish the race, get to the toilet”.

    Ferrari are in the same situation as Mercedes, but their guy is German.

    Ferrari and Mercedes have outstanding drivers that are winning races. There is no logic in replacing those drivers with a consistent driver that is not a strong qualifier.

    Therefore Alonso only has 2 options.

    1. I don’t like Alonso as a person but he is a fantastic qualifier.

      1. Not when you compare him to Hamilton.

        2007, Rookie 6, Alonso 2.

        Vettel is also on that high qualifying level.

    2. > Go to Renault and build the team into winning again, Aka 2005, 2006.

      Alonso is more the type of getting a winning team and turning it a loser than the opposite. Otherwise he’d have already won another WDC with McLaren. Or Renault again. Or Ferrari. Or McLaren again.

      On the bright side he might be wining again this year. Singapore is just up ahead.

  6. So for argument’s sake, I think we can safely assume Alonso is targeting a Ferrari or Mercedes seat next year. Going team by team:
    Mercedes: Hamilton has a contract, Bottas has not. I assume that if Bottas can keep within 80% of Hamilton’s points, Mercedes will keep Bottas. Driver relationship is perfect, they’re no friends but respect each other a lot and there’s no competitive clash (yet). Alonso will bring that clash and to me Hamilton has lost his A-game since last year, even two very bad races this year, so if he doesn’t bring his A-game next year, Alonso would crush him. If he does bring it, Alonso and he will fight for the WDC.
    Ferrari: As Grosjean said during the driver’s press conference yesterday, everyone is expecting Kimi to leave F1 all the way back since 2010 or something. He is the oldest driver, so based on that you can safely assume he’s out for next year. Having said that, neither he or Vettel have a contract. Note that a lot of websites state that Vettel has a contract for 2018, but Vettel recently admitted to Dutch journalists that’s not the case. It was part of a longer answer whether Verstappen would be his teammate next year, to which he answered: “I don’t know, even if he comes to Ferrari, I’m not sure yet where I’ll be since I don’t have a contract”. So to me this leaves Alonso as a strong contender for Ferrari.
    Red Bull: They will have learned from this year’s bad start for 2018, but it’s always difficult to see whether Red Bull will actually be that strong from the get go. Basically they’ve only had a 4 year streak in which they were strongest, in their short existence. Besides that, I don’t see Alonso going here, simply because they have a young driver programme and a couple of great drivers under contract.
    Williams: Stroll remains a so-so paid driver, but due to the amount of money they’ll probably at least give him 2 years in the car in order to get his performance anywhere near his teammate. That said, Massa might stick around for another year, but even if he doesn’t Williams will not be a championship contender and therefore not an option for Alonso. Also I think Alonso is happy to guide real talents such as Vandoorne or Ocon, but Stroll?
    Force India: In possibly their best year yet, we might see them challenging Red Bull next year or even sometimes the #2 team (whichever team that is), but not winning races. At all. Plus again a great driver pairing at the moment, even though they don’t have contracts for next year. Since it’s not a factory-backed team, not an option for Alonso.
    Renault: Might be an outsider option, depending on their progress this year. If they might be able to challenge Williams and Force India in the last 5 races or so, this might be a feasible option for Alonso. Coupled with Hülkenberg, this would be a very strong driver pairing.
    Toro Rosso, Sauber, Haas: Toro Rosso will never out-perform Red Bull, therefor not an option. Sauber will use Honda engines, so even McLaren will always be the better choice. And Haas hasn’t proven themselves in the long run, so not something a driver in his mid-30s will consider, especially having won 2 WDCs already.

    1. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but trading Alonso for Mercedes power when Rosberg left would of made everyone happy. McLaren, Mercedes, you and I. Funnily enough there is a good chance the outcome of such a deal in December 2016 is going to be exactly the same outcome from the currently McLaren/Honda debacle, just with a wasted season and it costing McLaren far more money.

  7. I am not an Alonso fan, but I have huge respect for the man. He genuinely is a WINNER. If he doesn’t compete next year in the Indy 500 … Maybe he has at least opened the door for others. Maybe we’ll see Jenson Button. Maybe we’ll see Nico Rosberg. It would still be good for Formula 1 and for motorsport, in general. Here’s to hoping! :)

  8. I haven’t heard one good reason why FA won’t be at Mercedes next year.

  9. Here’s a good reason… They shouldn’t need to spend that much money to have the chance at 1-2 finishes. They already have two drivers capable of that without the additional cost and drama associated with ALO.

    If they need to replace Hamilton, there is a top tier driver who is German.

    A better question would be: Name one good reason why Alonso will be at Mercedes next year.

    1. This assumption that there would be drama is ridiculous and only LH and LH fans have spun that rhetoric. Even Wolff has said that was 10 years ago and both drivers will have matured as people by now. 2007 was soooo 10 years ago. And it was poor management that had FA suspecting the team was favouring LH, at which point all FA was asking for was equal treatment, but not to be favoured over LH. TW has only ever exuded equality on the team toward his drivers in spite of LH’s accusations last year. Right now VB is in fact not part of a 1-2 and even LH is not a 1 in the WDC standings. So you want one good reason they should hire FA, and I’ll give you several. Money is not the issue btw. FA’s salary, even if he demanded a bucketload, which likely he wouldn’t make that an obstacle to a winning ride, would pale by comparison to the marketing impact of having FA on the team.

      1) Mercedes now has a strong threat from Ferrari this year and they’ll have to be assuming next year too.

      2) FA is touted by many as the best on the grid.

      3) TW has spoken many times of honouring the viewing and paying audience by, as a top team, ensuring he always has the best drivers he can possibly get.

      4) TW and Mercedes are the racing type to honour FA by offering him a competitive ride for the few short years he has remaining in F1 due to his age.

      5) TW and Mercedes will not want to see FA go to another team and be their competition.

      6) LH only has one year left on his contract after which who knows, at least as far as TW likely knows right now.

      You get the idea. So far the only response anyone can give as to why FA won’t be there is LH, and LH doesn’t call the shots, nor would TW care even if there were a few headaches, which is very presumptuous. TW wants to be back putting in 1-2’s over on Ferrari. A few mental games being played between his drivers is nothing compare to the 100’s of millions in marketing and attention brought to Mercedes globally by having the 07 Mac rivalry back together again for 2018. And locking out Ferrari. Unless TW can guarantee there car will be dominant again next year, he cannot rely on VB to be better than SV next year. But FA is burning like never before to end his career in a winning way on a top team again. Probably would offer to take VB’s seat for free.

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