Fernando Alonso says he won’t tackle a full IndyCar season because ovals are “a concern” for him, while hinting Formula 1 is also unlikely to be part of his 2021 plans.
The Spaniard has tackled the Indy 500 on two occasions — retiring when in contention to win in 2017 and failing to qualify last year — and will return this season with Arrow McLaren SP. Alonso might also appear in a road course race but says he is not comfortable doing a full season due to the commitment required and the number of oval tracks the series races on.
“I don’t think so, that was something that I considered maybe two years ago,” Alonso said in an interview for the Le Mans 24 Hours social media channels. “When I stopped Formula 1 I was thinking about what to do next, and obviously winning the WEC championship … and the Formula 1 championship, what if one day I’m IndyCar champion? Not only the 500, trying to win the championship in general.
“That would be unique. That would not be the second man in history, that would be the first man in history, and that was always very appealing.
“But, I don’t think so, because the commitment to do that will be too high at this part of my life. I think a few years ago, maybe that was a possibility, but right now, to do 16 or 17 races, to know all the circuits — because they race at Laguna Seca, they race at Mid Ohio, they race at Long Beach — there are circuits that they (IndyCar drivers) know very well for many years, and I don’t know. I will require a level of preparation or commitment that maybe at this time in life I’m not happy to take.
“The Indy 500 is already a nice commitment and a long preparation for one race, so I cannot imagine for the whole championship. That would be full dedication. And also there are five ovals, that you need to respect. The Indy 500 is already a risk in a way because the speeds are very high and you take that risk because the reward is very high, but to do the other ovals as well is always a concern for myself.”
Alonso says he will announce his 2021 plans soon, but that an F1 return next year is also unlikely because of the delay in the introduction of new cars.
“It’s something that I’ve been answering since 2018 when I did my last race in Abu Dhabi. I wanted to go out a little bit of Formula 1 because after 18 years of that routine and that pressure on your shoulders, I needed to breathe a little bit out of that environment.
“I always said, look, in 2021, there are new rules in Formula 1, I may come (back) because maybe there is more interest and the cars are more balanced, and maybe I’m hungry for traveling again or putting myself in contention.
“It’s true that Formula 1 now delayed the rules to 2022. That’s bad news in a way for the sport, because I think they need to balance the cars and they need these new rules as soon as possible. But it’s a choice that is understandable because with the current situation it was not possible to develop the cars for next year.
“In my personal case, I know more or less what I’m doing next year, and hopefully many of you will know very soon. I cannot say more.”