McLaren Racing has confirmed that Spaniard Fernando Alonso will be joining the team for a one-off race at the Indianapolis 500 in May next year as he takes another shot at winning the Triple Crown.
According to Drive Tribe, the Indy500 is the only victory he still needs to secure the prestigious title, having already secured a race win on the streets of Monaco in Formula 1 in both 2006 and 2007, and the Le Mans 24 Hours track earlier in 2018.
Speaking to the media, Alonso explained that he has previously expressed his desire to win the Triple Crown, even taking on the Indy500 in 2017. Unfortunately on that occasion, while the Spaniard looked good for the win, the Honda engine seemed to remember that it was, in fact, a Honda engine just a few laps before the end of the race.
“I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there. I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren. This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I’m delighted they’ve decided to go ahead. It’s a tough race and we’ll be up against the best, so it will be a huge challenge. One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic.”
As of 2018, there is still only one driver who has ever completed the Triple Crown. Briton Graham Hill became the only man to be given that prestigious honor in 1972 when he won Le Mans. Only one other current driver apart from Alonso has completed two legs of the Triple Crown: Juan Pablo Montoya won Indy500 in both 2000 and 2015 and won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2003.
The British team announced that the Spaniard will be rejoining the team next year, and also confirmed that they will run under the McLaren Racing banner for Indy500 in 2019, as opposed to their previous partnership with Andretti when Alonso tried his hand at Indy in 2017.
McLaren’s CEO Zak Brown also commented on Alonso’s return, calling it “unfinished business” for both the racing driver and the team.
So far, it seems that Indianapolis will be the only race on the IndyCar calendar which McLaren will compete in, given that the British team seems to have ruled out its inclusion in the 2019 season. The only remaining question regarding Alonso’s return to the competition will be surrounding the power unit he will use, given McLaren and Honda’s fall out after the last attempt.