Zak Brown, Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway ,2019

Triple Crown “still a target” for Alonso after Indy 500 blow

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Fernando Alonso says winning the ‘Triple Crown’ remains his target following his failure to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Yesterday Alonso missed out on a place in the 33-car field for Sunday’s race by less than 0.02mph over a four-lap run.

Alonso, who has already won the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours, would become the second driver after Graham Hill to sweep all three races if he takes a victory at Indianapolis.

Following yesterday’s setback, the earliest that could now happen is next year. Alonso says he won’t begin considering his options until after his return to Le Mans next month.

“Right now I think it’s difficult to make any promise,” said Alonso on Sunday evening at Indianapolis. “It’s just too soon to make decisions.

“I don’t know even what I will do after next month’s Le Mans 24 hours, [finishing] my program in the world endurance championship. I wanted to have the 2020 open because I don’t know exactly what opportunities may come for me for next year in terms of racing. Until I know the program for next year, I cannot promise or have any idea in my mind.

“As I always say, I would be more than happy to race here again in the future and to win the triple crown, which is still a target or a different target. Maybe I race different series with different challenges.”

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Alonso said the team made radical changes to its car overnight to unlock more pace from the chassis but were just not fast enough to qualify.

“We didn’t do the job,” he said. “We were not quick enough, simple. The others, they did better. We congratulate them.

“But at the same time, I think only McLaren is the only team in motorsport that won the Indy 500, won the Le Mans 24 Hours, won the Formula 1 championship. You can only do that if you try.

“If you stay only in one series and you concentrate there for all your history or your organization is only racing in one series, maybe you can succeed, you can have good seasons, bad seasons. But you are in that small world.

“But in terms of motorsport in general, to be here and at least try, it deserves some credit. Obviously we are all disappointed, and we will try to do better next time. But it’s that kind of things that you learn. I said before, I prefer to be here, even 34th, than being at home like last year.”

RaceFans subsequently learned McLaren’s IndyCar president Robert Fernley is to leave the team in the wake of Alonso’s failure to qualify for the race.

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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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  • 33 comments on “Triple Crown “still a target” for Alonso after Indy 500 blow”

    1. Full entry to the championship for 2020 along with maybe Bathurst 1000 should be good additions to his CV. Looks like barring a Dnf and win for 2nd car ensures Alonso will take WEC title this year apart from LeMans win and Daytona victory.

      1. Would love to see how he goes at Bathurst, international non-touring talent dont seem to care about it seemingly.

        Probably scared honestly, to bin it, get embarassed, etc…

    2. I don’t like Alonso, but I never particularly wished him racing unluck (he is already punished enough but McLaren), so even if I will not be rooting for him – hope he gets another chance, by luck without McLaren name attached.

    3. That photo would be a good choice for caption competition.
      Zak ‘We could always do it again next year.’
      Alo ‘We? I will do it again next year!’

      1. Im looking forward to Kimoa racing, who will he blame this time?

      2. BlackJackFan
        21st May 2019, 4:01

        Kamto… +1

    4. FlyingLobster27
      20th May 2019, 17:54

      The Indy 500 was never going to be a pushover, as was shown in 2017, but I’m glad that it isn’t falling into Alonso’s lap like Le Mans and the WEC did.

      1. Well he did make it look like a pushover somewhat in 2017. Until his engine gave up.

    5. Please stop covering this garbage class drama. It’s embarassing. Thanks.

    6. A debut that would’ve made any other new team quite proud, almost qualifying in their very first outing… but for an organization like McLaren, with the people they have, their inherent potential, the driver, and so on, it was an embarrasing spectacle and just shows how badly McLaren’s gone, as a motorsport company.

      Nowadays they are a car maker that happens to race in some motorsport series as a hobbie… it used to be the other way around.

      1. “A debut that would’ve made any other new team quite proud”… Hum, I don’t think so… They had good equipment, good budget. Many small team just come with old chassis, often quite heavy. No means to do any R&D on dampers, limiting any use of spare parts etc. Not the case of McLaren. Thinking they could win the race from their first year was too ambitious (and yet it was their line until very recently), but not qualifying for the race really is underperforming. They missed every opportunities they had, like on Sunday morning where they didn’t get to test properly their car enhanced with 1. Penske setup and 2. Andretti damper program (something small team would never get) because they completely missed the height setup. Sorry, but the whole week was disgraceful for Mac Laren

      2. As I posted on the previous article, about Fernley leaving, AP news posted a timeline of failure, by Zak Brown makes for interesting autopsy of things that went wrong, and when (and even admits that apparently had they got the gearing adjusted right, as apparently was planned, they’d have been 1.8mph average faster and would have made it).

    7. He’ll get it eventually. Hes not regarded as the best driver alive for nothing!

    8. I think a full Indy season would be the way to go… unless McLaren radically become top teams

      The whole rally/Dakar thing is bs… no matter how good he is (and I rate him highly) he won’t stand a chance, maybe asphalt rounds…

      1. Agreed… And potentially Alonso agreed too, but here’s the thing: we know Alonso will want a good race seat that guarantees he can fight for victory. We also know he definitively closed the door to Honda with his constant moaning and quite offensive “finger pointing” comments against the proud japanese manufactor (which was partly misplaced looking at 2018 and 2019 results). Now that leaves out potential association with: Andretti motorsport, Chip Ganassi Racing, RLL, Dale Coyne racing, etc. Leaving out as top team for Chevy: Penske – Not too much in the Captain’s standards to do that – and… hum let me think… ECR, probably. Not a wild choice, admittedly…

        1. Apologies, wrong copy paste. I obviously meant: “Now that rules out potential association with: Andretti motorsport, Chip Ganassi Racing, RLL, Dale Coyne racing, etc. Leaving out as top team for Chevy: Penske – Not too much in the Captain’s standards to do that – and… hum let me think… ECR, probably. Not a wild choice, admittedly…

    9. Zak wasn’t happy, so he attempted to buy a seat for Fred. How sad is that?

      By the way, the original Triple Crown was awarded to a horse that won 3 races in a year. Other sporting Triple Crowns are also awarded for wins in a season. Dragging the motorsport TC over 20 years is patently ridiculous.

      1. Any one of England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales that beats all of the others during the rugby six nations can also claim a triple crown.

        I have caps on three of my teeth, does that count?

      2. jamesluke2488
        20th May 2019, 22:51

        Triple crown in rugby is if as a home nation, you beat all the other home nations in the 6 nations. So if England beat Wales, Scotland and Ireland they have won the triple crown. Prefer winning this triple crown as it keeps the welsh quiet. Anyway gone off topic…

      3. It’s what all rich entities have tried to do for the last say decade when one of their drivers dropped out Jon.

        But good on Alonso for not going with that

    10. ‘Triple crown’ still a target?
      Oh Are we still all pretending that the Triple Crown is a thing?

      Right oh, so great a prize that nobody else has bothered since Hill meaty 50 years ago. Are Mclarenseriously risking their already battered reputation just massage Alonso’s ego? Well perhaps, but do we really all have to pretend to buy in?

    11. It was to be expected really, they cant build a good f1 car so why should they be able to build an indy 500 car that can win let alone qualify?

      That clinical, OCD, heavily corporate organisation is a prime example of how large corporations stifle innovation, waste their resources produce mediocre results (they cant even produce that).

      The best thing for them to do is to shut up shop and restart their moto racing teams from scratch. No layers of multi millionaire management, no arab shakes on the board, just some men, some sheds and some decent drivers and half the money that they waste on meaningless nonsense will produce a car that can at least qualify for a race.

      The team that we once loved is gone and what we see now bears no resemblance to it. This is simply another corporation doing business. It might as well be run by Tesco or Amazon, It would make no difference.

      I hope all of the other motor racing teams are paying attention to this. Go corporate, go broke and fail.

      More men in their sheds teams please and then we can race.

    12. The negativity in the comments is sad, I wish he would try other Indy Car ovals, the commentators were saying there are some oval specialists so why not try be one of those.

      If he really wants to win at Indy I think practicing some more ovals would be a good idea.

    13. Bash him all you want, but Alonso went into turn 1 during his last qualifying attempt with new dampers (purchased from Andretti) and a whole new setup. At nearly 240 mph going in to turn one, not having a clue if the car is going to stick, foot flat to the floor like it has to be for 4 laps in a row at Indy. That takes some serious bullocks my friends. He could have easily had one of the worst accidents imaginable, but didn’t.

    14. Bash him all you want, but Alonso went into turn 1 during his last qualifying attempt with new dampers (purchased from Andretti) and a whole new setup. At nearly 240 mph going in to turn one, not having a clue if the car is going to stick, foot flat to the floor like it has to be for 4 laps in a row at Indy. That takes some serious balls my friends. He could have easily had one of the worst accidents imaginable, but didn’t.

      1. Exactly Don. It shows serious commitment and exactly what we want to see from racers. Kudos to Alonso for going for this.

        Off course McLaren approached it wrong (see that series of bloopers Zak mentioned hampered them). But they still came incredibly close even with those.

        I hope they go for it again.

    15. What’s with the high-school mean girl attitude of so many commenters?

      1. You will get used to it at this site. There are regulars here that do it on a constant basis. They are the kind of people who get invited to dinner parties often as they are such great company and have huge amounts of respect for others in this world.

    16. Lots of unloading on Fernley in some articles. It would be interesting to hear Bob’s side of things as itsounds very unlike the cool head that used to drag Force India along.

    17. Other drivers get alsorts of offers too. As Alonso said himself, he decided to try some of the offers out (like Dakar) rather than keep turning them down.
      Mercedes has a whole decade of F1 championships locked in, only 2 drivers can win F1 championships and they hate him for blowing the whistle on their cheating. He should have stayed at Ferrari. Otherwise, do what he’s doing, try anything with a competitive car. He still keeps fit and sharp in Karts too.

      1. Mercedes hate Alonso for blowing the whistle on their cheating. I’m assuming you know that the famous incident was between McLaren and Ferrari, and I’m also assuming you know he entered into talks with Honda for 2009, but went to Renault, so, as the actress said to the bishop, come again?

        1. *2008 – crashgate year, not 2009

    18. pit to car ” Fernando – everyone is faster than you”

      just saying

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