Fernando Alonso believes victory in this year’s Indianapolis 500 could be the most important of his career because of the difficulty in achieving motorsport’s Triple Crown.
McLaren returns to the Brickyard with its own entry following Alonso’s attempt in 2017 in a McLaren-run Andretti Honda, during which he led for nearly 30 laps before an engine failure ended his race. Having since won the Le Mans 24 Hours for Toyota and already a Monaco Grand Prix winner, Indy remains the final race for Alonso to win in order to achieve the Triple Crown and join a club that currently counts Graham Hill as its sole member.
“This could be the most important victory of my life, for my career,” Alonso said in a McLaren preview video.
“This race is very important to me right now because the Triple Crown is very close. It’s only one race left. Obviously Formula 1 was my life and my dream for a long time in my career, and then I realized that I could have more potential than just Formula 1 and try to win and be competitive in iconic events in motorsports.
“And now to win the Indy 500 one day. If I do it, I probably can be part of the history of the sport and that is very tempting.”
Alonso admits the emotion of the race is one of the addictive aspects that has brought him back for another attempt, but expects to be more calm for his second attempt having learned from his 2017 visit.
“The Indy 500 is the biggest race in the world in terms of adrenaline, in terms of emotion, in terms of atmosphere that day. To see 300,000 people in a race track cheering for 33 drivers running for 500 miles at the highest speed of any motor racing event, I think it’s something that is unique.
“I think the experience in 2017 will be very beneficial in terms of controlling the emotions. I think once you are not a rookie any more and you experience all those moments, I think that will be beneficial to me to prepare the race better.
“This year is going to be special to be back: it’s two weeks that are pure magic.”