McLaren-Honda has a car entered in the 101st running of the Indy 500 and their F1 ace Fernando Alonso will be behind the wheel.
It’s been tough goings for the Spanish driver as he’s been itching to front run with his McLaren-Honda for the 2017 season. In a move few would’ve anticipated McLaren-Honda announced earlier today (Apr. 12,2017) that they’re mixing things up for their F1 ace and are scheduling him into a seat in an Indy Car in a bid to make racing history. the triple crown.
If you didn’t already know, the triple crown is defined as winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. British racing driver Graham Hill is the only driver to have completed this feat. Alonso has won Monaco twice, the first time in 2007 with a Mercedes-powered McLaren and in 2008 with a Renault.
Alonso has yet to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans but now he has a shot at a win in an Indy car. Since pretty much all the cars are at a similar level in Indy racing, the playing field comes down to driver versus driver. According to Zak Brown, executive director at McLaren,
“Could Fernando win this year’s Indy 500? Well, I wouldn’t be so silly as to make any such rash prediction, but I expect him to be in the mix. Put it this way: the team he’ll be racing for won the race last year, using the same Honda engine, and he’s the best racing driver in the world. That’s quite a compelling combination. So, yes, as I say, he’ll be in the mix.”.
In quite possibly the longest race name on the grid, the McLaren-Honda-Andretti entry will be a Dallara DW12 chassis powered by the aforementioned race-winning Honda motor. We’d be remiss not to mention that Honda’s reliability in Indy is much better compared to their foray into Formula 1. Powering the Dallara will be a 2.2 L twin-turbo V6 with power limited per IndyCar rules.
Stepping into his shoes as lead driver for McLaren-Honda come Monaco will be none other than Jenson Button who said he would take an active role in McLaren if need be. If his activity on Strava (a fitness app) has anything to say about his readiness, he’s plenty healthy at the moment.
Fernando Alonso has been driving his butt off for McLaren-Honda despite an inferior power unit. We like to think that this is their way of saying thanks to Fernando and bolstering the relationship he has with McLaren.
We’ll have our eyes peeled come race day and will be curious to see how ‘Nando adopts to high-speed oval racing.