Fernando Alonso is enjoying a new lease of F1 life with Aston Martin this season, yet there are motor racing goals beyond F1 that the Spaniard would love to achieve.
Having won the world’s toughest endurance race in 2018 and 2019 with Toyota and co-drivers Kabuki Nakajima and Sebastian Buemi Fernando has his sights of an even higher prize.
Motor sports triple crown
Only Graham Hill has collected what is considered to be the triple crown of motor racing which in its original form included winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Le Mans 24 hours and the Indianapolis 500 race.
An earlier version of the triple crown as espoused by Graham Hill replaced the Monaco event with completing the Formula One drivers’ championship.
Just 19 drivers have competed in all three events winning one leg of the triple crown and just Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya are the only currently active drivers to have won two legs with the Spaniard missing out on the Indy 500 during his recent absence from F1.
Fernando has made three attempts to win the Indy 500 his first being in 2017 with a Honda powered McLaren branded Andretti Autosport single event entry. Alonso led 27 laps of the ‘greatest spectacle in motor racing’ but retired with an engine failure on lap 179 out of 200.
Alonso attempts the Indy 500
McLaren and Alonso made another attempt in 2019 with the help of Carlin Motorsport but failed to make it through qualifying due to a comedy of errors when preparing the car.
Arrow McLaren SP joined the full Indy car series in 2020 and entered Fernando once again in America’s most famous race. However the Spanish driver only qualified 26th out of 33 and could only manage P21 at the chequered flag.
Whilst this year the Monaco GP and the Indy 500 fall on the same weekend and make it impossible for Fernando to compete, he has indicated a change in the US based racing series has made it less likely he will return for another attempt at the triple crown.
In a similar fashion to F1’s halo, Indycar introduced an aerokit in 2018 which includes a screen to protect the drivers from flying debris. However the additional weight high up on the car has made it more difficult to overtake when when in multi-car trains.
Indycar changes make racing less attractive
Alonso revealed to the BBC he was now less inclined to attempt the triple crown due to this change in the Indycar design.
“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.”
Alonso only driver at present capable of triple crown
Given Fernando is the presently only living driver realistically capable of completing the triple crown this is clearly disappointing for motor racing fans in general.
However, Alonso has revealed he would love to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans with his fellow F1 champion Max Verstappen.
Fernando wants to race Le Mans with Verstappen
“In the future, for sure, if there is any opportunity [to race at Le Mans with Verstappen],” Alonso confirmed it would be on his radar.
“We are very good friends, we are always in contact. I would love to do Le Mans – if I do Le Mans once again – with Max.
“You know that [when] you pass the car [to your teammate] – when you go to rest – [you are passing it to] the best [driver], so your car is in the best hands.
“That would be an honour.”
Max raced virtual Le Mans
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has competed in the virtual Le Mans annual event though his efforts this year ended in disaster.
Verstappen’s Team Redline entry that he shared with fellow sim racers Jeffrey Rietveld, Luke Browning and Diogo Pinto took the lead at the start and was still in control of proceedings in the early morning when a connection glitch hit his race.
By the time his connection was restored, Verstappen had tumbled down the order to P17. Unfortunately, he suffered more technical problems 90 minutes later.
The race – held on Motorsport Games’ rFactor 2 platform – had also been stopped numerous times on Saturday, with organisers suspecting a “security breach” of their servers.
Domenicali calls out “selfish drivers”
Verstappen calls virtual racing organisers “clown show”
Team Redline requested they were given back their lost laps but were denied so they quit the event early Sunday Morning.
“They can’t even control their own game,” said the reigning F1 world champion.
“This is already the third time this has happened to me, getting kicked off the game while doing this race. It’s also the last time I’m ever participating, because what’s the point?
“You prepare for five months to try to win this championship, you’re leading the championship, you’re trying to win this race that you’ve been preparing for for two months, and they handle it like this.
“There have been two red flags, they cancelled the rain, because maybe that’s already a big influence, and people are still getting disconnected, and at one point we were hit by it, and they’re just not dealing with it, because they need even more people to disconnect.
“Honestly, it’s a joke. You cannot call this an event. [It’s a] clown show. That’s why it’s better to retire the car.”
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There are many a memorable moment from Imola races over the years, and Juan Pablo Montoya calling Michael Schumacher 'blind or stupid' is definitely up there with the best. This one will always make me chuckle 😆 #F1 #ImolaGP pic.twitter.com/PA0SvGYMSv
— Simon Dau (@there_is_no_if) May 20, 2023