Fernando Alonso says issues with getting to this year’s Indianapolis 500 and preparing for the race require his full focus before getting down to serious work with Renault.
The two-time Formula 1 world champion will return to the team he won both of his titles with next season, marking a comeback after two years out of the sport. Before that, he will make his third attempt at winning the Indy 500 in August, but admits the revised schedule for the delayed race and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are making it something he has to focus on completely before turning his attention to his F1 return.
“This year it’s the highest priority — I only have that race,” Alonso said of the 500. “It’s 100%. I’m committed to that. Obviously it’s a very special race and it’s going to be even more special this year because of the lack of preparation.
“Normally you go there with two tests or more and a couple of simulator days; this year there is nothing. I’m really having issues even to travel to the U.S. for August, so it’s going to be tight and it’s going to be a coin in the air more than ever. But I’m happy to be there and happy to feel the speed.
“For the team, for Renault, with the season ongoing now and restarting again next weekend, and me with the Indy 500, I think until September we will not start the job properly. But we will try to split these priorities but having in mind the final target, which is 2021.”
Alonso will race with Arrow McLaren SP in this year’s showpiece at the Brickyard, as he goes in search of the ‘Triple Crown.’ Should he not be successful this year, Renault has yet to confirm whether it would allow him to continue his attempts while under contract for the team.
If Renault does allow Alonso to race at Indianapolis, the 2021 calendar opens up the tantalizing proposition of the Spaniard taking on both the Monaco Grand Prix and Indy 500 on consecutive weekends. Monaco only clashes with qualifying weekend at IMS, and it is the car rather than the driver that qualifies, so it is conceivable that any IndyCar team could have another driver qualify the car for Alonso to race the following weekend.
Alonso missed the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix to race for Andretti Autosport at Indianapolis, when the two race dates clashed.