The Formula One Monaco GP and the Indy500 were run on the same weekend this year. Naturally the F1 drivers were asked by the media in the Principality whether they had any ambitions to drive in one of Motorsports ‘Triple Crown’ events. One of the responses from a prominent Indycar driver over Max Verstappen caused some raised eyebrows.
Fernando Alonso of course has won two of the three coveted ‘triple crown’ events with his two F1 Monaco wins and a win at the Le Mans 24hrs. The remaining event is the Indy 500 in the USA. The Spaniard has attempted the final leg of the coveted but unofficial multi-discipline motorsports crown and competed unsuccessfully in Indianapolis 3 times.
Since Indycar introduced the standard aero kit in 2018 and then the aero screen, the additional weight of the cars has made overtaking when in multi-car trains much more difficult.
Alonso told reporters in Monaco, “The last two attempts in Indy [participating in 2020 and watching in 2021] with the aeroscreen made me feel the car [is] 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 [moves], 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.”
Max Verstappen was also asked whether he fancied driving in the Indy500. The Dutchman was blunt and to the point.
”I’ve got no desire to chase the Triple Crown – at least, not IndyCar.
“I have a lot of respect for what they achieve there but, for me, especially after now being in F1 for such a long time already – I don’t need to risk my life there and potentially injure myself, my legs. It’s just not worth it anymore.”
Former F1 American driver Alexander Rossi believes Verstappen has misjudged how epic driving at Indianapolis really is. Speaking to Sky’s Any Driven Monday show Rossi revealed, “I was that guy as well.”
“When you’re on a trajectory for F1 and your entire world revolves around F1, it’s a sad state because other racing doesn’t really exist to you. It’s such a single-track focus.
“I was the same way. I knew what the Indy 500 was but I didn’t really ever pay attention to it. But when you come and have the opportunity to do it, it truly is an incredibly special event – not just in motorsport but globally, it’s the largest single-day sporting event on earth.”
Speaking about the 2022 Indy500 Rossi continued, “In a sense, it’s more dangerous, maybe. But we had four crashes and didn’t have a car splitting in half: you can’t say that about the Monaco Grand Prix. I think the safety argument is a cop-out,”
“Verstappen finally has an F1 drivers’ title and is clearly hungry for more. At his stage in his racing career Max probably doesn’t appreciate the most exclusive of clubs winning the ‘triple crown’ is.”
Graham Hill is the only racing driver ever to win The 24 hours of Le Mans, The Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One.
As Alonso’s hopes of a third F1 title have diminished over the years, he looked to establish himself at the top of the pantheon of motorsport drives. Maybe when Verstappen has multiple F1 championships under his belt, he will broaden his horizons.