Fernando Alonso Díaz, the little Spaniard that took out two Formula 1 drivers championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006 is still renowned as one of the best drivers on the market. Despite having spent the last eleven years in relative isolation with the odd win and podium, he has spent the past two seasons battling to make his return to the factory at Woking with the McLaren Honda team worthwhile.
With the departure of Ron Dennis and the arrival of Zak Brown as the new team principal some opportunities have arisen, namely the chance to drive in the Indianapolis 500. Through their engine partner Honda, Alonso entered into discussion with Brown where he disclosed that it was a dream of his to win the big three drivers titles, a Formula 1 championship, the Indy 500 and Le Mans.
Through Brown’s contacts, Alonso was offered the seat of Stefan Wilson at Andretti Racing. The team owner himself a former McLaren driver is also supplied engines by Honda which have of course proven themselves as being more reliable than the Formula 1 version.
The current stock of Indy drivers are themselves excited at the prospect of racing alongside ‘El Nano’. Current Indy series driver Justin Hinchcliffe stated to the media that, “Just huge excitement to have a guy with his credentials and following to come here. He’s one of the drivers that is in the conversation for greatest living racing drivers. To be able to say you shared the race track with him is an honour in a lot of ways. To get to show him our world a little bit, something very, very different to what he’s used to, is something we’re very excited to do.”
For Alonso himself, he has taken a gamble. He has given up the chance to drive at the 75th running of the Monaco Grand Prix on the same day. Fernando has also undertaken several days of testing to adapt to the different style of racing that goes on with an oval event, namely only turning left, eight hundred times over the five hundred mile event held at the ‘Brickyard’.
We will have to wait and see if he has made the right decision to steer his career in this path.