Alonso says aeroscreen makes his Indy 500 return less likely

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Alonso says aeroscreen makes his Indy 500 return less likely

IndyCar

Alonso says aeroscreen makes his Indy 500 return less likely

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Fernando Alonso says he does not have desire to return to the Indianapolis 500 that he once did due to what he perceives to be the impact of IndyCar’s aeroscreen on the racing.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion made a sensational debut at the Brickyard in 2017, coming close to winning and leading 27 laps before an engine problem ended his hopes. A complete reversal of fortunes saw Alonso fail to qualify with McLaren in 2019, but he returned a year later to finish 21st as he sought to match Graham Hill’s “triple crown” of Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24 Hour victories.

Despite Alonso’s clear popularity after taking on the race as an active F1 driver, his previous stance that he was likely to return at some stage has changed.

“It’s less of a goal now, I have to say,” Alonso told the BBC. “The last two attempts in Indy with the aeroscreen made me feel the car a little bit different, and talking with some of the colleagues there, definitely the cars are more difficult to drive and difficult to follow each other. So it is less fun.

“In 2017, there were a lot of overtaking, and I loved that race. There was a little bit less love in the last couple of years when you cannot overtake.

“And there is the danger factor. In the Indy 500, there are a couple of big crashes every year. Now I am fully focused in F1 and, when I stop F1, I don’t know if I will be tempted to try again. It is not a complete no, but I would say it is less of a project.”

As for his F1 future, Alonso says he wants to continue beyond the end of his current contract that expires at the end of this year, and believes he will have opportunities to stay at Alpine after casual chats with CEO Laurent Rossi.

“We didn’t talk officially. We just had a couple of coffees. But, yeah, I think the possibility will be there. The motivation is still there to win and to close that gap (to the front) even if we know how extremely difficult it is going to be.

“We know there are a couple of things we can do. This first year of the new regulations you learn a lot from other cars and other philosophies, so there are a lot of shortcuts in performance you can find very easily.

“Next year or the next two years I would love to continue and keep driving, because I feel at my best right now and it would be wrong to watch F1 from the living room while I still feel 100% of my abilities.

“When I feel it is not that way, I will be the first to raise my hand and stop because F1 is very demanding; you have to sacrifice a lot of things in life to keep racing. But at the moment it is still worth doing it.”

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