INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso was back on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wednesday, hoping to take a step closer to his dream. He wants to become the first driver to win what he calls the triple crown, the F1 GP of Monaco, the 24 Hours of LeMans, and the Indy 500.
He was asked at a rain-shortened one day oval test at the speedway if he comes back feeling like an IndyCar driver trying to win the 500 after giving it a shot two years ago as an F1 champ trying to win the greatest spectacle in racing.
“No, I feel like a Formula one champion and a 24 hours of LeMans champion,” Alonso said to a room that quickly filled with laughs. “And 24 Hours of Daytona champion.”
On a more serious note, Alonso returns without the help of Andretti Autosport, which gave him a great base when he led some laps before an engine malfunction ruined his 2017 race. It’s his F1 McLaren team that returns to IMS as a stand-alone.
“It’s a bigger challenge,” said the Spaniard. “Everything we do by ourselves, not only in terms of set-up and the technical side, but the operational side and strategy, tire management and all the other basics that was already set up with Andretti. Some of the McLaren philosophy and direction in the next month might be different. Maybe now we can discover new things.”
As for returning to the speedway, Alonso could not be happier, despite the fact his team was only able to get on track for a few hours that included an electrical issue when the car died on track.
“It feels good to be back and feel the magic of the place and the facility. The weather didn’t help, not enough laps or time in the car to get a proper feeling.”
That will come in a few weeks.