Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso has been mentioned as a possibility to drive in the IndyCar Series in 2019 in either a one-off return to the Indianapolis 500 or a full season on the American open-wheel circuit.
According to a story in the Times of London, the former is an option. The latter is not.
The double world champion has spent much of this year fending off questions about his future, with his contract with McLaren up at the end of this season. There is an option for next year and McLaren are eyeing an entry into IndyCar, but a whole season in America does not appeal to Alonso. His only interest is the Indy500, which he competed in last year but was forced to retire, as he continues his bid to complete motor racing’s triple crown — winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and the Indy500. He is two thirds of the way to becoming only the second man in history, after Graham Hill, to complete the hat-trick.
Alonso could go for racing’s ‘Triple Crown’
Alonso is widely regarded as one of the most talented drivers in the world despite being recently stuck in McLaren Formula 1 equipment that isn’t exactly the most competitive.
He’s expressed interest in going for racing’s “Triple Crown” and is now two-thirds of the way there. Alonso has wins in the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was a co-driver on one of the teams that took home a class victory in the famed sports car endurance race a week ago.
Wins at Le Mans and Monaco leave the Indianapolis 500 as Alonso’s Belmont Stakes to complete the triple.
Alonso competed in the 2017 Indy 500
Alonso skipped the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix in favor of the Indianapolis 500. He was extremely competitive in his first-ever major oval race until he was forced to retire because of a busted engine.
At 36, Alonso still has time to make another 500 start or three in his attempt to join Graham Hill as just the second man with wins at Monaco, Le Mans and Indianapolis.
McLaren could be moving to IndyCar in 2019
Alonso has been linked with a move to IndyCar strongly because of McLaren’s reported interest in the sport. McLaren partnered with Andretti Autosport for Alonso’s 2017 Indy 500 entry and could be interested in fielding a full-time team in the series in 2019.
Since Alonso’s contract is up at the end of 2018 and he’s already competed in the Indy 500, he’s been mentioned as a possible candidate for that car. This story pretty clearly quashes that idea and could break the hearts of many who follow IndyCar — there’s been an almost-desperate level of clamoring for Alonso to come back to the series on social media in recent months by those who follow the sport.
If Alonso wants to stay in Formula 1 he may have to wait a while for the driver carousel to slow down. Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton’s contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the season along with teammate Valtteri Bottas’ deal. Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo is a free agent after 2018 and there’s been lots of speculation about the Ferrari future of Kimi Raikkonen.
Hamilton is widely expected to stay at Mercedes and Bottas could too, assuming the team doesn’t try to sign Ricciardo, who could stay at Red Bull or possibly head to Mercedes or Ferrari.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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