Photo: McLaren

Fernando Alonso and McLaren Confirm Indy 500 Return for Next Year

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Fernando Alonso and McLaren Racing confirmed plans to compete in the 2019 edition of the Indianapolis 500.

With wins in both the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Spaniard needs only a victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” to achieve the Triple Crown, which has only ever been achieved by the legendary Graham Hill.

Next May will mark Alonso’s second attempt at the Brickyard, having previously ran there in 2017 in a collaborated effort with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport. The debut began with a stellar fifth-place in qualifying and he managed to lead 27 laps before a mechanical failure brought an abrupt end with 21 laps remaining.

At the United States Grand Prix last month, Alonso revealed that despite leaving Formula One at the end of the season, he had no plans to compete full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

However, Alonso never ruled out a return to Indianapolis for a shot at victory in the crown jewel race of North America’s premier open wheel championship.

“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown,” said Alonso, a two-time Formula One champion.

“I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there. I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren. This was always my first choice if the team decided to do it, so I’m delighted they’ve decided to go ahead. It’s a tough race and we’ll be up against the best, so it will be a huge challenge. But we’re racers and that’s why we race.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic.”

Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, expanded on his eagerness to get back racing at the Indy 500.

“We are relishing our return to the Brickyard and this incredible race,” Brown said.

“McLaren has a long and fond relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and it’s a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando. No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it’s a massive challenge. We have the utmost respect for the race and our competitors. So, we are under no illusions. But McLaren are racers first and foremost, as is Fernando.

“We’re going for it.”

Details on potential team collaborations or an engine supply are currently unconfirmed and are expected to be revealed at a later date.

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Joey Barnes is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, IndyCar.com and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.