If the decision taken by McLaren to allow Fernando Alonso dip his toes into the world of Indy Car by competing at next weekend’s Indianapolis 500 was an attempt to lift the frustrated Formula One driver’s spirits, then it may have backfired already.
The two-time world champion has not hidden his desire to win motorsport’s Triple Crown: the Indy 500, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix. He has already ticked off one of those after triumphing on the streets of Monte Carlo, twice, in 2006 and 2007, and next weekend he will try to add the Brickyard to his extensive list of race wins.
But early signs from the United States aren’t exactly what Alonso fans will want to see. He finished practice on Tuesday down in 24th, more than 3.5mph off Will Power’s fastest average time. This isn’t the end of the world for his Indy hopes though, with more than a week left of practice and qualifying to negotiate.
More concerning are the noises that are coming out of Alonso and the fact that if McLaren are looking to keep their best driver, they need him in the cockpit of their own car and not an Andretti Autosport one.
With his attention clearly starting to wain after a difficult 2017 so far, the Spaniard has already been making noises about his next move that, if there is no clear improvement with McLaren-Honda, will be to another team or even another class of racing.
“I like this F1,” Alonso said before his home Spanish Grand Prix at the weekend, in which he vastly outperformed the McLaren’s practice pace to qualify seventh before coming home in 12th. “My intention or first priority is to race here. “I am happy with the team, but we are not winning.
“If from here to September/October we are in a position where we see clearly a possibility to win in 2018, I will be more than happy to stay with the team. If it is not the case, then I will be more than happy to talk to anyone.”
These aren’t the positions that Alonso wants to…