By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
Fernando Alonso, gracing the cover of the newest edition of Motor Sport Magazine, proudly proclaims that he wants to win the Indy 500 and Le Mans.
It is not the first time the Formula One veteran has made this claim. As his number of competitive years in F1 dwindle, or more accurately; go squandered by McLaren Honda, the once heir apparent to Schumacher is seeking new opportunities to cement his legacy and rediscover the joy in racing.
I like this, a lot. Though I haven’t been the biggest proponent of Fernando through the years, his talent and drive are undeniable. That he is proclaiming such an interest in WEC, in IndyCar is refreshing.
Another F1 great, Juan Pablo Montoya, is also getting ready to gun for the elusive Triple Crown of Motorsport. But in Montoya’s case he backed into it. Several times over the last few seasons I have asked Montoya if he is interested in emulating Graham Hill and going for the Triple Crown. Every time he shrugged it off, saying he wasn’t interested or that merely driving for the Captain in IndyCar is enough for now, even as recently as last June. Fancy my surprise when I saw him at Circuit of the Americas hanging out with the Porsche guys during the WEC race last September and said he was interested in Le Mans now.
Perhaps this is because JPM has got it good where he is, he must first honor his commitment to Penske before adventuring elsewhere.
Alonso on the other hand is still mired with a slowly improving, but albeit not good enough car from McLaren-Honda. His intention with such a bold claim is as much a plea for help and a bit of posturing as it is a genuine desire. Ever wise to the political game, he can use it to assert extra pressure on Woking, letting them know he has other options, other places to take his immense talents.
That said, I suspect that Alonso wants nothing more in the world than for one last competitive car in F1. A season where he can challenge Hamilton and Vettel head on, beat them to the championship and reclaim his status as the best before going out on top.
What’s interesting is that an unnamed fan on twitter relayed Alonso’s ambitions onto none other than Chip Ganassi. Ganassi replied back by telling everyone to give Alonso his contact info and followed it up with the hashtag: I like winners.
The ball is now squarely in Alonso’s court as Chip can easily get him an IndyCar seat or even orchestrate a shot at Le Mans for 2017, perhaps even both. Alexander Rossi by winning the 100th Indy 500 and to a lesser extent Nico Hulkenberg by winning Le Mans with Porsche in 2015 have brought driver crossover among series to the forefront of the racing world and it is wonderful to see more people openly considering it. I think Alonso will follow their lead, in his own fashion he has made big claims and he will have to back them up, sooner or later.