2 time world champion Fernando Alonso will skip this years Monaco grand prix in favour of competing in the iconic Indianapolis 500 race, the Indy car series most famous race.
It’s been a difficult start to the season with the new Honda engine being not only slow but unreliable, so much so that the Spaniard has failed to finish any races so far this season. And despite Monaco being his best chance of getting a result, a deal has been reached between Honda, Mclaren and Alonso for him to compete in his first oval race.
The deal will see him race in a Mclaren-Honda entry run by Andretti Autosport, the car will also be painted in Mclaren’s orange livery.
Mclaren have yet to confirm who will replace Alonso, although 2009 champion and reserve driver Jenson Button (who is currently on sabbatical from F1 but still signed to Mclaren) does look likely.
Alonso said: “I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport,”
“The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix, and it’s of course a regret of mine that I won’t be able to race at Monaco this year.
“But Monaco will be the only 2017 Grand Prix I’ll be missing, and I’ll be back in the cockpit of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in early June.
“I’ve never raced an IndyCar car before, and neither have I ever driven on a superspeedway, but I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with it fast.
“I’ve watched a lot of IndyCar action on TV and online, and it’s clear that great precision is required to race in close proximity with other cars on the far side of 220mph.”
The Spaniard is the second F1 driver to race in other series in recent memory. Nico Hulkenberg raced in the 24 hours of Le mans back in 2015, a race him and his team went on to win.