LONDON: McLaren’s former two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will miss next month’s Formula One Monaco Grand Prix to race for them in the Indianapolis 500, the British-based team said Wednesday.
The two showpiece races take place on May 28 and McLaren – whose fortunes have plummeted in F1 – “will enter a single car in the 101st Indianapolis 500,” said a team statement.
McLaren did not say who will take the Spaniard’s place for the Monaco race, one of the highlights of the grand prix calendar.
However, his absence sparked speculation that his position could be filled in Monte Carlo by Britain’s Jenson Button, another ex-Formula One world champion, who remains under contract in an ambassadorial role with McLaren.
Alonso will race in a Honda-powered Andretti car branded as a McLaren for the Indy 500, one of US motorsport’s most prestigious races, and he insisted Wednesday that Monaco was the only grand prix he planned to miss this season.
The 2005 and 2006 Formula One world champion said he wanted to compete in the Indy 500 to have a chance of fulfilling a career ambition of completing motorsport’s “Triple Crown” in winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The only driver to achieve the feat was the late Graham Hill, with the British driver, like Alonso, a double Formula One world champion.
“It’s a tough challenge but I’m up for it. I don’t know when I’m going to race at Le Mans, but one day I intend to. I’m only 35: I’ve got plenty of time for that,” said Alonso.--AFP