McLaren has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will once again try his hand at the Indianapolis 500 in 2019, returning to the race after first attempting it in 2017. The Spaniard skipped the Monaco Grand Prix last season in order to compete in the gruelling race.
Alonso has made it clear in recent times his desire to win the Triple Crown. Having won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007, he added the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his list of successes earlier this year and just has to triumph at the Indy 500 in order to become the second driver after Graham Hill to win the Triple Crown.
Alonso attracted a lot of attention when he competed in the race 18 months ago, and was in contention for victory before an engine issue in the final quarter put an end to his charge. The double-time F1 world champion promised that he would return in the future.
“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown," Alonso said. "I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there. I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren.
"This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I’m delighted they’ve decided to go ahead. It’s a tough race and we’ll be up against the best, so it will be a huge challenge. But we’re racers and that’s why we race. One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic.”
It is believed that McLaren will enter the 103rd running of the Indy 500 as a sole entry, and will not partner up with another squad as it did in 2017 with Andretti Racing. The team last won the Indy 500 in 1976, and will likely be provided with Chevrolet engines for the event.
"We are relishing our return to the Brickyard and this incredible race," said McLaren CEO Zak Brown. "McLaren has a long and fond relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and it’s a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando. No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it’s a massive challenge. We have the utmost respect for the race and our competitors. So, we are under no illusions. But McLaren are racers first and foremost, as is Fernando. We’re going for it."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing