Fernando Alonso is set to miss May’s Monaco Grand Prix, in favour of racing in the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren-Honda.
Alonso will miss the jewel in the crown of F1 races and instead take part in another one of motorsport’s most prized events – the Indy 500 in IndyCar. Alonso will drive a single McLaren entrant, powered by Honda. The car will be run by the Andretti Autosport team, headed by founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer Michael Andretti, a former IndyCar champion who raced in Formula 1 for McLaren alongside the legendary Ayrton Senna for a single season (1993) and is the son of three-time IndyCar champion and one-time Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti.
Alonso will swap his usual hybrid 1.6 V6 Honda for the 2.2 litre twin turbo V6 used for Honda’s IndyCar program, limited to 12000rpm.
According to McLaren’s press information, “Alonso will not race at Monaco this year. The Indianapolis 500 will be the only 2017 IndyCar race in which Fernando will compete, however, and the Monaco Grand Prix will therefore be the only 2017 Formula 1 race in which he will not compete.”
McLaren are yet to announce who will partner Stoffel Vandoorne in the MCL32 in Monte Carlo, but one possibility is Jenson Button. The former Champion announced a sabbatical/retirement from F1 at the end of last year, but has remained contracted to the team for this year.
“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 [which Fernando has won twice, one of those victories at the wheel of a McLaren (in 2007)], 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.”