By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
After an incredible rookie performance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this May, two time F1 Champion Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 and Triple Crown dream ground to a halt with a late race engine failure this afternoon. Alonso led the race multiple times, for 27 laps, and had the highest average speed before his Honda engine let go as he was running in seventh place with 21 laps to go.
He immediately pulled off and was greeted by a standing ovation from the 300,000 strong crowd when he got out of his stationary DW12. The respect and admiration he earned among the fans, the media, and his peers this month has been incredible. He fought with the courage and poise of a veteran IndyCar driver and was a genuine contender for victory until the end.
He described the experience as, “one of the best experiences of my career.”
He elaborated post race, “Obviously, if I come back here, at least I know how everything is. It will not be the first time I do restarts, pitstops, all these kinds of things. So it will be an easier, let’s say, adaptation. Let’s see what happens in the following years. I need to keep pursuing this challenge, because winning the Indy 500 is not completed.”
“I’m obviously disappointed not to finish the race because every race you compete, you want to be at the checkered flag. It was a great experience, the last two weeks. I came here to prove myself, to challenge myself.”
And prove himself he did. After several seasons of grabbing his uncooperative McLaren F1 cars by the scruff of the neck just to fight for points, Alonso has clearly relished having a competitive car and fighting at the front. Hopefully McLaren or whatever F1 team he drives for in the future will allow Alonso to keep competing in the Indy 500. Maybe even a post F1 career in IndyCar spearheading a McLaren full time return stateside could be in the cards. We can only hope, after the giant spotlight Alonso helped shine on the 500 this year, that he can help by returning in the future.
“I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car, I didn’t know if I can be as quick as anyone in an IndyCar. It was nice to have this competitive feeling, leading the Indy 500.”