Its no secret Fernando Alonso has been looking around recently regarding his future within Motorsport. Taking part in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 and competing in the WEC 2018/19 Super Season (In which he took opening honours winning at the Spa 6h alongside teammates Buemi and Nakajima). With a lacklustre and disappointing 300th race weekend behind him at the Canadian Grand Prix, in which he qualified P14 and DNF’d due to mechanical issues. The Spaniard jets off this week to Le Mans where he will take part in the 86th running of the legendary 24-hour race.
Contesting in all the rounds of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) this year gives Alonso the opportunity to once again become World Champion… Albeit in a different manner. The title whilst a magnificent achievement does not carry the same weight to it as the Formula One World Drivers Championship. But a winning Alonso is a happy Alonso and being robbed of that these past years we have seen the side of Fernando that isn’t shy to berate the car, the company or the team when things have not gone the way they have supposed to. Doubting that Fernando cares where he wins; Winning Le Mans or the World Endurance Title, enjoying racing competing at the front will be a welcome change of scenery to the driver that has spent 3 years outperforming a struggling McLaren-Honda in F1. And now with the Renault engine not giving the team the added oomph to push them up the grid that they expected could we see this as Fernando Alonso’s final year in Formula 1.
It hasn’t been nice to watch one of the greatest drivers of the past 20 years in a car with so many reliability issues fighting for points down in 10th place. After the closely fought season of 2010 to the one on one battle with Sebastian Vettel for the title in 2012 Alonso hasn’t had much to enjoy. Seeking a change from the dismal start to the 2017 Formula One season Alonso opted to try his hand at IndyCar racing in the biggest race North America has to offer. A joint venture between McLaren and Andretti Autosport saw him qualify in 5th position in his first ever oval race. In a moment of irony, he was let down in the latter parts of the race by a Honda engine which he had skipped an F1 race to escape from. Whilst the month of May ended disappointingly for Alonso, the impact IndyCar had on him has remained. Interacting on social media with the IndyCar series and its drivers, more and more hints have been given in recent weeks to a possible move to the American open wheel championship in 2019. McLaren have announced their intentions to join the IndyCar grid in the near future, bringing in the man who mentored Alonso during his time at the Brickyard Gil De Ferran (Indy 500 winner and 2-time CART Champion) onboard as a consultant and are reportedly in talks with Andretti Autosport and Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing to be partners in the series.
At this point it is all speculation. But as F1 proves to still be a fruitless endeavour in the later stages of Alonso’s career, a move full time to the highly competitive IndyCar series looks more than an appetising prospect. Maybe he decides to focus on endurance racing committing solely to the WEC during the end of the Super Season and the following years to come. Or… he stays in F1 for 2019 and we get to play the guessing game all over again next year…
Where do you think Alonso will be racing next year? Would you like to see him remain in Formula 1? Or perhaps you would like to see him in IndyCar for a full season… Post a comment below and join in the discussion.
Also, don’t forget to keep up to date with the latest Alonso news and Le Mans news that will surely be coming from RaceDepartments Editor-in-Chief Paul Jeffrey as we approach the great race this weekend on the 16/17th of June. You can find these articles on the Home page and in the Motorsport Sub Forum