Date Set For Alonso's First IndyCar Test
With all the hype surrounding Alonso, McLaren have said that they aren't ready for a full return to IndyCar just yet.
Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is set to rack up some extra frequent flyer miles in the coming weeks. Prior to the Indy 500, he still has to (hopefully) finish two Formula One races, with an IndyCar test in between them. But even before all that, he'll will be at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend. Alonso will be on hand for the IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama. He'll be meeting the team members, and getting a look behind the scenes.
Next weekend, Alonso will be back to Formula One for the Russian Grand Prix. After that, it's off to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he'll get his first taste of wheeling an IndyCar on May 3. From there, Alonso will be in his home country for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. Finally, immediately following that race on May 14, he'll fly back to the IMS for the first official practice of the Indy 500 on May 15.
In addition to all the hype around Alonso, the talk of McLaren going back to IndyCar has been ramping up. McLaren's Zak Brown spoke to Marshall Pruett over at Racer.com about where McLaren stands on IndyCar and what it would take to get them back there full time.
"We have three criteria: One, we need to make sure we can be competitive; two, that it's commercially viable, and three, it fits out brand," he said. "I think the Indy 500 ticks all those boxes, and I think IndyCar ultimately ticks all those boxes. We're a fan of IndyCar; we think it's a great form of motorsport. We've done it before. And if we can tick all three of those boxes, in the future, IndyCar would definitely be something we would consider."
Brown goes on to say that McLaren have to get their Formula One program winning before they can set sights on another large, full-time racing project. Winning would be great. In all honesty, I'll jump for joy when Alonso actually finishes an F1 race this year. I don't care if he's five laps down, missing a wheel and on fire; if that car drives across the finish line under it's own power, I'll be elated.
In the meantime, if fans in the area are interested, according to Racer.com, Alonso's May 3 test at Indianapolis will be open and free to attend. It can be watched from the Turn 2 viewing mounds, the Museum parking lot and the South Terrace Grandstands.