INDIANAPOLIS – Now that the McLaren/Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports deal has been announced, many started speculating who will drive the cars. The team is still thinking that James Hinchcliffe can pilot one of the cars despite being tied with Honda on a personal level. They’re not sure of his contracts with them but believe he can break it and honor his contract with their organization for 2020.
What about the other seat? Would Fernando Alonso want to drive full time in the NTT IndyCar Series? While most want to believe so, Alonso hasn’t made any indication that he’d want to commit for a full season.
Fernando Alonso attempts to qualify for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500
His goal is to win the Indianapolis 500 and only that. He wants to do the triple crown, not win a season championship. I get the feeling that Alonso would rather do his own thing and not be tied down to a full season in any one series.
Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing said on Monday that he has discussed the possibility of Alonso running in Indy Car full time but doesn’t know if that’s realistic or not of occurring.
“I’ll be seeing Fernando (Alonso) at the Italian Grand Prix,” Brown said. “He’s well aware of everything that’s going on with our IndyCar activities and has been for some time. I don’t think his desire to win the Indy 500 has diminished at all. He has not shown an interest, yet, I should say, in a full season of INDYCAR. He’s coming off of 20 years of lots of racing and I think he wanted to take the second half of this year off to see what he wants to do in the future.
“I think he would be an outstanding talent in INDYCAR. I personally think, knowing him as well as I do, and his driving style, he’d be immensely successful and welcomed and would enjoy it. But Fernando is the type of individual that you put the opportunity in front of him and let him make his decision. So I’ll be picking that up with him in about a month’s time, but I would not anticipate in 2020 him having a desire to do a full season.”
The last time Alonso has spoke about any Indy Car opportunities was when he failed to make the Indy 500 back in May. This is what he said then.
“Yeah, I don’t know. Right now I think it’s difficult to make any promise. You know, it’s just Sunday after. It’s just too soon to make decisions. I don’t know even what I will do after next month Le Mans 24 hours, finish my program in the world endurance championship, and I wanted to have the 2020 open because I don’t know exactly what opportunities may come for me for next year in terms of racing. So you know, I don’t know — until I know the program for next year, I cannot promise or have any idea in my mind.
“But as I always say, I would be more than happy to race here again in the future and to win the triple crown, which is still a target or different target. You know, maybe I race different series with different challenges. Maybe next year, as well, completely out of my comfort zone again, and maybe, you know, this type of challenge, they can bring you a lot of success and you can be part of the history of the sport or can be really disappointed. You know, today is one of those, but I prefer to be here than to be like millions and millions of other people, you know, at home watching TV. I prefer to try.”
Nothing three months later has changed much as I wouldn’t anticipate Alonso being in the series full time next season.