FORT WORTH, TX – Lets rewind the scene to April 2017. Michael Andretti, McLaren and Fernando Alonso announced that they have teamed up to provide a joint entry into the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500. McLaren knew Alonso, a world champion Formula One driver, was growing irritated with subpar equipment. He was beyond disappointed with what Honda was supplying his team. Heading into that announcement, he had two DNF’s in three races for the season and a best finish of fifth since he returned to the team in 2015. With him in the back end of his career, he wanted one last gasp of being competitive again. So, to salvage a relationship, Zak Brown and Eric Boullier reached a deal with a Honda team, Andretti Autosport, to bring Alonso over for the biggest race in the world.
He’d come over and impress too. Alonso, had never raced on an oval before and he was quick from the opening day on. If not for a blown Honda engine in the race, he likely was heading towards a top five finish at the very least. He vowed to come back. He was happy again. He made it well known that this wouldn’t be the last that we’d see of him. The competitive juices were flowing. It was a very good thing and something that he needed.
While neither side will fully admit this, it basically came down to Honda or Alonso for 2018 and beyond for McLaren. It’s obvious who they chose. Well, despite a new powerplant and some better reliability on the F1 side, Alonso and McLaren still aren’t there as far as being competitive for wins. His love for the Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 only grew more and more with each passing day.
In F1’s biggest race, the Monaco Grand Prix, Alonso said this of how it went.
“Without a safety car, without yellow flags, I think the sport needs to think a little bit about the show because this is very disappointing. Probably the most boring race ever in Formula 1. So I think we probably need to give something to the fans at the end of the race just to pay the ticket back a little.”
After saying how “boring” the Monaco Grand Prix was, Alonso tweeted this, “Ready to watch and enjoy the RACE of the day,” when describing the Indy 500.
Then, comes the news that Brown and Boullier were going to come to Belle Isle last weekend to visit the INDYCAR paddock. It’s no secret what they were there for, it’s to see if they can find a deal to join the series in some capacity for 2019. The rumors are that they’re interested on a full season return and bringing Alonso with them.
This weekend, ahead of Alonso’s 300th career F1 start, he says these comments.
“It’s true that in the last years, especially with the turbo era, things are so predictable,” he said on the state of F1 to motorsport.com. “There are 21 races and we all know what’s going to happen in the next 14 races. This is very sad for the sport.”
He then put out this dagger, “probably it will never change. This has been Formula 1 for many years. It’s just a train of cars every two weeks.”
Sounds like a driver on his way out right? Well, after all of what’s transpired and how he hasn’t been happy, McLaren teamed very successfully with Andretti Autosport in Indy last May, Alonso has been very vocal recently against F1 and in favor of INDYCAR, then his team of representatives were in Belle Isle last weekend, look who shows up to Montreal this weekend – Michael Andretti.
It seems like McLaren is wanting to team with someone until the new car comes out in 2021 in INDYCAR. Most of the biggest teams are welcoming McLaren if they choose to come, but they’re not necessarily wanting to share secrets and McLaren use the team use it against them in the future. Andretti, well he’s open to it. They were seen talking last weekend and now here Andretti is at an F1 race while his team is down in Texas racing themselves.
What’s that say?