Fernando Alonso’s hopes of racing at the Indianapolis 500 beyond this year rest with Renault, as the opportunity of a McLaren drive the week after next year’s Monaco Grand Prix is not closed.
The Spaniard’s return to Formula 1 opens up the question of whether he will be able to continue his chase for the “Triple Crown” beyond this year, when he will compete for Arrow McLaren SP at the Brickyard in August. Should Alonso not win in 2020, then he will be under contract with Renault in F1 for the following two years.
McLaren gave Alonso the opportunity to first take on the 500 in 2017 with Andretti Autosport — missing the Monaco Grand Prix as a result — and also ran him in 2019 ahead of a wider partnership with Schmidt Peterson this year. McLaren will switch to Mercedes power units from Renault next year, but RACER understands that as far McLaren is concerned, being a Renault driver will not be a factor if it wants to offer him another seat in 2021.
“I don’t know what his Renault contract says,” Brown (pictured at left, above, with Alonso at Indy in 2019) said. “From our part of view next year the races don’t conflict and the way the Indy 500 is run the car qualifies, not the driver. So it is not out of the question, especially as he’ll have more experience, that if he wanted to do the Indy 500 in 2021 and his contract allowed — I just don’t know what his contract allows — you could have a situation where someone qualifies the car for him and if he wanted to come compete at the Indy 500 in ’21.
“We’d have to see where we were at as a team, but certainly that wouldn’t be something that I would be opposed to if we had a seat available and he wanted to do the Indy 500 in ’21 and he was allowed to do the Indy 500 in ’21, then that scenario could play out in a positive way.”
Whether Alonso is able to compete at Indy again alongside his F1 commitments will therefore rest on the terms of his Renault contract. When asked by RACER, Renault declined to comment on his contractual situation regarding Indy.
Brown also had good news of Alonso’s plans to head to Indianapolis for this year’s race, after the Spaniard admitted a few weeks ago that he was struggling with the logistics of getting to America due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
“It is resolved. It got resolved this week, and I can tell you when I got the phone call and it hadn’t yet been resolved it was a bit nerve-racking but it’s all solved now! That’s good, Fernando will be in America next week.”