Michael Andretti admits he’s talked to Fernando Alonso about running the 2020 Indianapolis 500, but right now it’s a long way from being a done deal.
“We’ve talked about it and I’d love to have him drive for us again. But a lot of things would have to happen,” said Andretti, who gave the Spaniard his first IndyCar ride at Indianapolis in 2017.
“He has to decide what he wants to do and he could still end up with McLaren; but there’s other stuff,” Andretti added. “It’s a possibility, but not a good possibility.”
The “other stuff” is, of course, the Honda roadblock. After referring to his Formula 1 motor as a “GP2 engine” during his final year with Team McLaren, the two-time world champion fell out of favor with the Japanese automaker. In his return to IMS last May with McLaren, Alonso was in a Chevrolet because Honda refused to power either the team or driver.
And it’s believed that when McLaren CEO Zak Brown made an offer to partner with Andretti last summer for the 2020 IndyCar season, Honda of Japan was approached about forgiving and forgetting but refused to budge. Andretti Autosport stayed with Honda while McLaren’s first full-time assault in the NTT IndyCar Series next year with Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew will be with Chevrolet.
“I’d love to get back together and and try to get him his first win at Indy,” said Andretti, whose cars have pulled into Victory Lane five times. “We’ve talked about it many times — and also about him driving other things for us — but right now it’s just talk.”
Alonso was Rookie of the Year at Indy in 2017, starting fifth and leading 27 laps before blowing up. But he missed the show last May in McLaren’s muffed return to the Speedway.
Andretti is set to campaign five full-time cars next season, with Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Zach Veach and Colton Herta. James Hinchcliffe could be in the mix for an Indy-only ride if nothing materializes full-time for The Mayor.