Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Imola, 2021

Alonso may abandon his bid to win Indianapolis 500 and ‘Triple Crown’

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says he is not sure whether he will continue in his effort to win the Indianapolis 500, and complete the ‘Triple Crown’ of motor racing.

The Alpine driver made his first attempt to win the race in 2017. He has returned twice since, most recently last year, where he recorded his first finish.

If he were to win the race, Alonso would join Graham Hill as the only driver to have won it as well as the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hours, completing the so-called ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport. But speaking in today’s FIA press conference Alonso said he may not return to the Brickyard.

Responding to recent comments by 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve, who claimed he had stopped trying to win the race, Alonso said: “I think we all have different opinions and different point of views and how to race or how to achieve goals.

“For sure, what other people say about your own goals or your own dreams will not affect your thinking or your way to see things. So if I do it again, it’s going to be for a dream of the Triple Crown or try to achieve the win. It’s not that you do that type of race just for fun.

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“But I don’t know if I will do it again or not. And if I don’t do it again, it’s not because someone else said that I will not be able to win it. You know, if I don’t do it again, it’s because I don’t feel the motivation to do it.”

Alonso made his two most recent attempts to win the race during his two-year absence from Formula 1. He enjoyed more success in the World Endurance Championship, winning the 2018-19 season with Toyota team mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, and scoring two victories at Le Mans.

He described how both experiences offered different challenges to F1. “There are many things that you can learn from any of that experience away from Formula 1, because F1 is a very close environment,” said Alonso.

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“You repeat the same thing every two weeks, the same exact routine. Your driving style, it gets in a way the same for over the years.

“You just follow the instruction of your team that they are optimising everything in the car and they are optimising as well your driving style. So they are telling you what to do, where to save the tyres, where to save the energy on the battery, where to perform the burn-outs, how many to do before the start. Everything is so controlled that you are not able to improvise many things on a F1 weekend.

“I think in endurance racing you have to be yourself much more than any other race car, in a way. You find traffic in different places, in different laps, in a different time of the day, for every single lap, every time you jump in the car. You have to share much more with your team mates, there is a lot more teamwork in endurance racing than F1. So there are things that you are learning and you are taking that different approach for your future adventures in motorsport.

“And the same in IndyCar, I think the level of detail that you have to reach in terms of set-up, in terms of preparation for a Indy 500 race is much higher than any F1 event. Because the cars are the same and how the small details can affect the driving style, the performance, the overtaking opportunities. You have to anticipate some of the things that will happen in the next two or three laps.

“There are many lessons that you learn in different categories that hopefully you can apply in F1 or I can apply in the future.”

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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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10 comments on “Alonso may abandon his bid to win Indianapolis 500 and ‘Triple Crown’”

  1. “You just follow the instruction of your team that they are optimising everything in the car and they are optimising as well your driving style. So they are telling you what to do, where to save the tyres, where to save the energy on the battery, where to perform the burn-outs, how many to do before the start. Everything is so controlled that you are not able to improvise many things on a F1 weekend.

    For me that doesn’t sound very.. F1. Well it has always been a team sport but when Alonso described it in that way it makes F1 sound even more unpleasant. That’s still not the whole truth but if someone would introduce me to a new sport by using those sentences, I would have my doubts about it.

  2. I guess he prefers to be circulating in F1 with Alpine-Renault.

    1. They change their name way too often. Lats few names took less than a decade and boom, name’s changed.

      1. Renault is no worse than force india in this regard, in a few years force india-racing point-aston martin, really?

        1. Yeah, Midland and Spyker, but at least Force India lasted 10 years.

  3. Of course what’s omitted here was he was asked at the drivers interview at Imola if he thinks it would be possible to win the Indy 500 as a one off, and to have a chance he’d have to commit to a full season. And, Lando Norris asking “is it scary?”, with Alonso answering without hesitation “very scary”.

    After his humiliating failure to qualify in 2019 and his poor performance in 2020 he had some moments that scared the crap out of him. I’m sure Alpine has made it clear he’s not doing it no matter how poor his / their season is going, but the main reason is I don’t think he dares run it anymore.

    1. One of the Reasons Max don’t want do indy untill after his F1 carrier as he find the risk for getting hurt to big. Max was talking with Rinus van Kalmhout (Veekay) at that moment.

  4. I’ve maintained that the only way Fernando wins the 500 is if he commits to racing IndyCar full time. Its not that he can’t win it as a one off, he would stand a better chance if he racing in the series and other other ovals regularly.

    He is still relatively young. IndyCar drivers are winning well into their 40s, heck, Jimmie Johnson is 46 and he is a rookie! Juan Montoya is still racing, Scotty Dixon is no spring chicken either, and he is still as quick as ever.

    Fernando should never have come back to F1. Its ultimately going to be a total waste of his time. I would love to be shocked by Alpine next season, however, I think it isn’t likely. This big shake up in Renault’s management should have happened at least a year ago, having done it this close to a major rule change is destabilising.

    Fernando should have committed to a full time IndyCar deal, would have been a lot more fun for him and us fans.

  5. He wanted to get that tripple crown before he retired from racing, money didn’t matter. Now that it’s certain that he is not getting that crown, instead of just retiring, he is just cashing as much money until he is not capable of competing with yourger drivers. He is going to end up like Kimi until the teams doesn’t need him. Therefore, I don’t think he is going to rant or complain about the cars performance anymore (like GP engine).

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