Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2019

Alonso reunites with McLaren for Indianapolis 500 return


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Fernando Alonso is reuniting with McLaren for his third attempt to win the Indianapolis 500 in May.

The two-times world champion, who previously attempted the race with the team in 2017 and 2019, is returning to them after his plans to join Andretti for this year’s race fell through. He will drive a third car entered by McLaren SP for the Indianapolis 500 only. The team is already running two full-time cars this year for Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew.

“I am a racer and the Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world,” said Alonso. “I love the incredible fans who make it so special for all of us drivers and make me want to come back. I have maximum respect for this race and everyone who competes in it and all I want to do is race against them and give my best, as always.

“It was important for me to explore my options for this race but Arrow McLaren SP has always been at the top. I have a special relationship with McLaren; we’ve been through a lot together and that creates a bond, a loyalty that is strong.”

McLaren and Alonso will be eager to banish memories of their unsuccessful attempt at the race last year. Alonso crashed heavily during practice, then failed to make the cut for the 33-car field in qualifying.

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However Alonso said he is encouraged by the team’s new alliance with Schmidt Peterson for the 2020 IndyCar season. “I am impressed with how the new organisation and operation is developing into a strong package with the Chevrolet partnership,” he said. “The team has experienced, well-qualified people and great resources, and I’m confident we can be competitive.”

Fernando Alonso, IndyCar, McLaren Andretti, Indianapolis 500, 2017
Alonso led on his Indy 500 debut
Team co-owner Sam Schmidt said Alonso’s arrival “brings a level of experience and expertise that will benefit our two young, talented full-time drivers in Oliver and Pato.

“We have fast cars at Indy and fully believe he has the talent to run at the front, not just participate. That, combined with Chevy power and the experience of the team, will make this trio of drivers one of the strongest in the field.”

Alonso led the race on his debut in 2017, driving in a car entered jointly by McLaren and Andretti, before retiring when his engine failed. He has reunited with McLaren despite standing down from his role as ambassador during the off-season.

“We’ve always said we’re open to running Fernando in a third car for the 500, so we’re delighted he’s decided to join us,” said McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown. “Fernando is one of the greatest drivers in the sport and it’s fantastic to have him as part of the team.”

Alonso is seeking victory in the race to complete a ‘Triple Crown’ of triumphs at Indianapolis plus the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours. He has already won the classic races at Monte-Carlo and the Circuit de la Sarthe twice each.

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Mclaren’s 2020 IndyCar liveries for Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew

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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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  • 28 comments on “Alonso reunites with McLaren for Indianapolis 500 return”

    1. Can’t wait!

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        25th February 2020, 21:25

        Yup! Roll on May!

    2. Wishing him well. Hoping it worth the risk. Indy can be unkind to part-timers

      1. Sure can. Good luck Fernando! Can’t wait for this drama.

    3. That’s why F1 is F1. Can you picture Rosberg in a third Mercedes just for the German GP? And with realistic chances of winning?

      1. It happened a lot until the mid 80s. Indycar has kept the “amateur” roots, if you will. Anyone can enter a car.

        Tbh I prefer having people missing the race because there are more entries than the maximum number of grid slots than having just 10 teams and no realistic chance of anyone else entering.

    4. What could possibly go wrong?

      1. Your avatar sums up all my fears!))

    5. He’ll have a much better chance than last year with the Arrow Schmidt merger now. Can’t wait for May!

    6. Very excited to see what happens this year. Good luck Alonso!

    7. Hoping he can get in the mix like his first year

    8. Well, they managed a 2nd with Ericsson last hear (without Grosjean anywhere near).
      It’s a descent team, just outside the ”big three”…

    9. I just don’t see him winning it without help from one of the top teams. Schmidt has done it before but I think it’s a long shot. I do wish the best for him though

    10. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      25th February 2020, 21:26

      Pity it’s just the 500. He should do the month of may or Long Beach too

      1. There’s a interview on NBC Sport and Sky (almost 13 minutes) from New York that it sounds like we may see him at the Indianapolis GP befrore the 500. Bring it on.

    11. WHAT?!?!?
      Did anyone check – did the hell freeze over?!

      I would be more surprised only if he would reunite with Honda…

      Well, good luck, Fernando!
      Make sure to take your own steering wheel… just in case ;)

      1. @dallein Why? There was no acrimonious breakup between FA and McLaren like there was between him and Honda. True he would never return to McLaren if they were in the same state as last year, but they’re not. The current Arrow McLaren team is essentially Schmidt Peterson in a new frock =experienced, well respected and with good history on ovals. It’s no Andretti of course but outside the top 3 teams this was always his best bet.

        So yeah I would be very much surprised if Honda let him drive for Andretti, but this is not very surprising

    12. It’s a crying shame that the best driver and personality of his generation, Alonso, is missing out on F1.

      After Verstap. Ricardo and Vettel, F1 is a very cold place of basic, uninspiring clones.

      1. Not impressed by vettel tbh.

      2. After Verstap. Ricardo and Vettel, F1 is a very cold place of basic, uninspiring clones.

        Yet you leave out the one driver breaking all records and diversifying way way outside the ‘race car driver’ mould. So your comment is utter nonsense and has zero merit.

    13. He really has no shame at all. He blew off Honda in F1 and tried to kiss his way back to RedBull after Honda shut the door for him at Indy. He blew Mclaren off- now he crawled back again. I guess he will try with Ferrari next. I have lost all respect for him.

      1. @proteus I agree with most people that Alonso burned a lot of bridges in his career, but suspect you’re over reaching here. There’s no evidence that he had to go crawling back to McLaren.

        He wants to win the 500. To do so he needs the best car. It’s a business and he’s a free agent so he tried to get a better seat, when he couldn’t, the door at McLaren was still open.

      2. He tried with Ferrari multiple times, like at least the 5 last years he tried to return to Ferrari. Ferrari’s answer was simple: “We don’t need you!”
        And you are 100% correct, he has no shame. He tried with all top teams which rejected him in less than a minute. He tried with Andretti, rejected by Honda, he kissed Honda ass like 2 months, but Honda still rejected (obviously). He kissed McLarens ass after the rejection of Honda. And he finished there… Pretty pathetic actitute for pretty pathetic driver. Bumped last year, we will see this year if he’s able to qualify or not.

        1. What’s really pathetic is such a comment as yours which has no factual support. And I’m no fan of Alonso and criticized his conduct with teams many times but comments such as these are far worse

    14. Only Macca will indulge the self proclaimed “Best driver”.

      Too bad no one in F1 cares anymore about Nando. Someone get deck chairs out.

      1. Too bad no one in F1 cares anymore about Nando. Someone get deck chairs out.

        Will never understand why so many keyboard warriors have it out for Alonso. Did you personally have to deal with his purported diva like behaviour? No. Did he provide any kind of excitement, drama and exceptional racing prowess during his career? Yes.

        Now a genuine world’s best driver is out of the sport and we have space fillers like Stroll, Latifi, Grosjean etc taking up seats on a reduced grid.

        Have some respect for the talent man.

        1. Don’t think his snitching on Macca the first time round ( spygate) and his ignora of the Piquet Jr crash at Singapore has done anything to influence my opinion of the greatest driver. Ha

    15. I hope he ends up doing a full season next. It’ll be just as exciting as Mansell that time. I’ll definitely be watching every race (unless the yellow flag trickery becomes too much).

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