The F1 world was left amazed and checking for the calendar to ensure that the new of a Fernando Alonso Indy 500 Bid wasn’t another April Fool’s Joke.
It is a refreshing change to see someone of Alonso’s stature as a double World Champion and widely regarded as one the top drivers still in Formula One, that he dares to put his reputation on the line by entering the biggest open wheel race in the USA.
Where he could sit back and cruise and collect a sizeable wage, the Fernando Alonso Indy 500 bid shows he is a real races at heart, someone who is in it for the pure racing.
Maybe it is because he gets such little racing in Formula 1 since his switch to McLaren Honda a few seasons back, or perhaps he has figured out that attempting to qualify and race at the Indy 500 is no worse than squeezing every last ounce of performance out of a car which will likely not make the finish.
To underline his ambition, he has to sit out the Monaco Grand Prix no less. A shame the FIA can’t sort out of schedule so that Alonso wouldn’t have to miss a race, or indeed that drivers like Le Mans winner Nico Hulkenberg can go back and defend their title or enter the classic sportscar race.
We take our hat off to the Fernando Alonso Indy 500 bid, and heartily hope he can prove how great a driver he is by winning the event at his first try of the American series.
But missing the Monaco Grand Prix is and will be a big deal, but imagine the line up to take the one off drive at F1’s most famous event. Sure, it will be still be a McLaren Honda that will be unlikely to feature anywhere near the front of the grid on merit, Monaco is a drivers track where they can showcase their talent like nowhere else and will be popular.
If McLaren’s phone hasn’t already been ringing off the hook with suitors for the Monaco drive, we’ll run through the choices, with a surprise final potential choice. We’ll even assign a score out of 10 of their chances.
OLIVER TURVEY 7/10 – Current McLaren Test driver and driver for Honda in the WTCC. Experienced.
NOBUHARU MATSUSHITA 5/10 – Back up McLaren Test driver, F2 driver, being Japanese helps.
JENSON BUTTON 9/10 – Driver up to last year and a race winner around the track.
PAUL di RESTA 4/10 – Hasn’t driven in F1 for a while, but unlike the current Test drivers has F1 race day experience.
TIAGO MONTEIRO 2/10 – Former F1 driver with Jordan, drives for Honda in the WTCC
PIERRE GASLY 1/10 – GP2 Champion but under the Red Bull wing. Has no seat for 2017 season though.
ANTONIO FELIX DA COSTA / JOSE MARIA LOPEZ 3/10 – Formula E hotshots who both thoroughly deserve a go at F1.
ANY EX FORMULA DRIVER IN FORMULA E 4/10 – Plenty of capable candidates who could easily step in where needed.
A REALITY SHOW TO DECIDE DRIVER
People love Reality shows, and what better way to make a shit year interesting than a reality show to decide the Monaco Grand Prix drive.
Drivers of any skill, talent, experience or neither of the skills are encouraged to apply.
The McLaren team will then hold several time trials, fitness tests, mini races in the week leading up to the Monaco Grand Prix to determine the winner. All of it based on votes, tweets and likes via SMS and Social Media every stage of the “journey”.
As long as MKR proudcers don’t decide the timeline as it could drag onto until next year’s race.
What a wonderful way to bring F1 to the fans, bring it into the 21st century, and give the new US owners something to get really excited about.