Alonso to race in 2017 Indy500posted in F112 | 04 | 2017

    DOUBLE FORMULA ONE world champion Fernando Alonso will race at this year’s Indianapolis 500. The Spaniard will sit-out the Monaco Grand Prix because of the two races clashing over the weekend of May 27/28.

    Alonso, who has endured a troubled period at McLaren, following its switch to Honda engines, will drive a McLaren entry run by the Honda-affiliated Andretti Autosport IndyCar team, headed by former McLaren F1 racer Michael Andretti.

    Today’s announcement comes after weeks of secret talks involving Honda, McLaren and Alonso.

    The decision my McLaren to allow Alonso to miss a GP to race in the Indy500, where he will bid to join Scots Jim Clark and Dario Franchitti as winners of America’s Blue Riband race, could be construed as simply trying to keep him happy. Alonso is out of contract at the end of this season.

    "I'm immensely excited that I'll be racing in this year's Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport," Alonso said this morning.

    "The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix, and it's of course a regret of mine that I won't be able to race at Monaco this year.

    Alonso-Indy500-5-copy.jpg

    "But Monaco will be the only 2017 Grand Prix I'll be missing, and I'll be back in the cockpit of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in early June."

    It will not only be Alonso's first attempt to win IndyCar's most famous race, but also his first experience of racing on an oval.

    The last of McLaren’s two Indy500 wins came in 1976 with Johnny Rutherford.

    Alonso's entry "will be decked out in the papaya orange livery made famous (pictured above) by our founder Bruce McLaren, and in which Johnny Rutherford drove McLaren IndyCars to Indy 500 victory”, according to McLaren executive director Zak Brown.

    McLaren has yet to confirm who will replace Alonso in the cockpit for the Monaco GP.

    Related: Hamilton dominates in China

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    Jim McGill

     

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