Madrid, April 12 (IANS) Spanish racing driver Fernando Alonso will miss Formula One’s most glamorous race to instead take part in the United State’s iconic Indianapolis 500, his team said on Wednesday.
McLaren-Honda said that, after the absence of 38 years, it would return to the American classic race popularly known as the “Indy 500” with a single car driven by Alonso, powered by Honda and run by the Andretti Autosport team, reports Efe citing a team statement.
“I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport,” said Alonso in the same statement.
The race, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend (the last one in May), coincides with the 2017 Monaco GP, one of the most iconic stages in the Formula One championship.
This means that Alonso will not compete in this year’s dash through the narrow streets of Monte Carlo, a seaside race regarded by F1 drivers and fans as the season’s highlight.
McLaren-Honda said it would announce the identity of the driver who will replace Alonso at Monaco “in due course.”
“I’ve won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and it’s one of my ambitions to win the Triple Crown (the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours), which has been achieved by only one driver in the history of motorsport: Graham Hill,” Alonso explained.
“It’s a tough challenge, but I’m up for it,” he added.
Meanwhile, McLaren Technology Group Executive Director Zak Brown said that he was particularly delighted to bring McLaren back to Indianapolis in his first year on the job.
“As an American, albeit one who fell in love with Formula One at a very young age, I’ve always regarded the Indy 500 as a fantastic motor race,” Brown said.
Katsuhide Moriyama, Honda’s chief officer for brand and communication operations, said that Alonso — a two-times F1 world champion — was one of the best racing drivers in the sport, adding that he strongly believed the Spaniard would put on a great performance at the Indy 500.
“Honda will provide our maximum support to him and the team, as well as the other Honda drivers competing. We can’t wait to see him racing on the legendary Indianapolis track,” Moriyama said.