Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2019

Alonso says Indianapolis 500 is his “main priority” for 2020


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Fernando Alonso says winning the Indianapolis 500 is his number one goal for next season but he may not firm up his plans for the race until after next month’s Dakar Rally.

Speaking at the FIA Gala yesterday Alonso said he intends to make his third bid to win the race next year, but he is yet to confirm who he will drive for.

“Obviously now the main focus and priority is Dakar,” he said. “So I’m not putting too much effort on closing everything on the Indy 500.

“But the intention is to do the Indy 500 next year. That’s the one that I’ve got to win now and the main priority for me so I will prepare the best that I can that race.”

Alonso led on his debut at the race in 2017 but failed to finished after his McLaren and Andretti-run car suffered an engine failure. His return this year in a solo effort with McLaren was a disaster, and they failed to qualify.

“This year was the downside of the season,” he said. “Otherwise it was perfect because every race that I participated, I won: Daytona, Sebring, Spa, Le Mans. That one [Indianapolis] I didn’t do the start, I didn’t participate, so the record is still going.

“I will need to look at the best possibilities to be competitive. Last year it was sad not to be competitive enough and not to be prepared enough.

“We did what we could. The preparation was a little bit late, running late, but still always the trust and confidence that eventually you will get competitive. But even that week, we faces so many problems, and I had the accident on Wednesday so everything was on the back foot on the time. So this year hopefully is better than that.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 23 comments on “Alonso says Indianapolis 500 is his “main priority” for 2020”

    1. It is good to have hobbies.

    2. Alonso and his sense of self-greatness…
      I don’t wish him bad of course, just don’t want to see him in F1 again.

      As for Indy – all the best to him to find a reliable team and prepare as best as possible. Let his dream come true.

      1. @dallein Which top level athlete doesn’t have a sense of self-greatness?

        1. Mika Hakkinen and his humble attitude?

          1. Damon Hill? Jim Clark?

    3. Is he still linked with McLaren for the 2020 attempt, another team, or are options open? I’ve not followed him much after this year’s Indy attempt.

      1. @phylyp Not necessarily. The talk currently is that it will be either with Andretti or indeed McLaren

    4. Get a ride with Andretti full time (Honda willing) for 2020 and give yourself a real chance to win the 500. Probably a low chance to win with McLaren. More experience in the car would be good, and we’d love to see how you do on the road and street courses. If things don’t pan out for a 2021 F1 return, stick to real racing in IndyCar.

      1. +1 Seems more likely he could win – and in some ways more valid too – to do the full season and win the Indy 500. The issues he’s had could perhaps be resolved before ‘blowing up’ at the actual race.

        1. +2
          Did anyone in the last 20 years do a ‘one off’ and win Indy ? I don’t think so.
          Nigel Mansell..respect, he did the whole season, missed Phoenix through injury, still won the championship and almost won Indy. ’93 had a pretty impressive driver lineup too.
          That’s the way to do it Fernando, and I for one would love to see it.

    5. It’s not a joke to win everything you participate in, even with the best equipment available, because there is always another set of guys with the same car. Please don’t frivolously doubt this man. He might be full of self-importance, but his actions justify it.

    6. F1 can’t afford to not have him back. Theres a severe lack of big talent at the moment with only Verstappen and Leclerc really standing out.

      1. ??? How about a certain Hamilton and certain Vettel, both younger than Alonso. Oh and we have some Finn called Raikkonen. And I would not underestimate Ricciardo and the McLaren drivers. Russell is also hot prospect. There is no “need” for Alonso.

        1. @f1mre

          Given Alonso was never known to be the best qualifier, which is Hamilton’s main advantage, which seems to be waning now, and Lewis is only 4 years younger? He went bald in 2009. They are closer old men than you think!
          I would say Alonso’s relentlessness and machine like capacity would do him well over a season. Hamilton has not been 100%. Bottas took advantage of that,.

      2. Theres a severe lack of big talent at the moment with only Verstappen and Leclerc really standing out.

        You forgot Hamilton, six time world champion and you know, the face of the league?

        You could be referring to young drivers……but that is mooted when you’re talking about bringing old guy Alonso back.

        I know people won’t want to Hamilton to win cos its predictable which is fair enough, but not including him in as an example statement of the current talents in F1 is just insulting.

        Aside from the ones mentioned theres also Bottas, Albion, George Russell (considering what he did with a Williams in a rookie year), etc.

        Lack of talent is not the issue with F1, its the lack of competitive teams for those talents to challenge.

        1. @yaru

          Hamilton’s showing his age more than Alonso ever did. Has lost his qualifying dominance. Only Verstappen stood out this season as being ‘full-on’ .

    7. Good luck to him, but I hope he ditches McLaren for Indy. They got rid of two talented experienced drivers and hired inexperienced rookies for their new IndyCar team. They’re in for a tough season I think.

    8. If I was Nando, I’d wave a big cheque of my own cash in front of Penske, Ganassi or Andretti and ask them to run an additional car for me at Indy. Those three teams know how to win Indy and are at the top of their respective games…that’s the main reason he was so good in 2017. He could lean on Andretti’s know how, look at all his team mates data to work out how to go quickly round the brickyard and they could train him about how to run in traffic. Going with anyone else is a risk…with maybe the exception of Ed Carpenter Racing because they go well round Indy. If it means that much to him, he should be doing all he can to get a top seat…and that would include offering a real and humble apology to Honda if that’s what it took.

      1. Ganassi and Andretti are most likely out unless Honda changes their current stance. I don’t think Penske has any interest in a ride buyer for the 500.

        I think Andretti is the best spot as he and Michael seemed to have good chemistry. It would take Honda to change their minds.

        1. Honda just changed their minds on EV’s, so who knows. Indy and F1 are dead sports now anyway. They will need major revamps as the manufacturers are now falling over themselves to go electric. Alonso would do better going to Formula EV. Engineers praised his Brain’s spare capacity. Battery formula’s are ideal for that.

    9. In 2007 he told McLaren that he took -0.6 secs with him to their car. However, the rookie driver took -0.7 secs.

      1. At Monaco Alonso lapped faster on full tanks than Hamilton did on near empty. Both Alonso and Schumacher would have won championships as rookies had they world championship winning equipment.
        06 was Alonso’s worst season as he was made to feel uncomfortable from the off and got sick of having to tread on egg shells as not to upset Lewis.
        Hamilton vetoing Riccairdo speaks volumes

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