Alonso to race in Indy 500 Instead of Monaco Grand Prix – Will Button Return?

Ryan Ashenhurst

Fernando Alonso wants to win a race in 2017, which is why the Spanish Formula One veteran has taken the decision to race at the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport instead of race the Monaco Grand Prix in Formula One, suggesting that Jenson Button could be driving the McLaren-Honda around Monte Carlo.

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On the decision, Fernando Alonso said,

“I’m immensely excited that I’ll be racing in this year’s Indy 500, with McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport.

The Indy 500 is one of the most famous races on the global motorsport calendar, rivalled only by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix [which Fernando has won twice, one of those victories at the wheel of a McLaren (in 2007)], and it’s of course a regret of mine that I won’t be able to race at Monaco this year. But Monaco will be the only 2017 Grand Prix I’ll be missing, and I’ll be back in the cockpit of the McLaren-Honda MCL32 for the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in early June.

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I’ve never raced an IndyCar car before, and neither have I ever driven on a super-speedway, but I’m confident that I’ll get to grips with it fast. I’ve watched a lot of IndyCar action on TV and online, and it’s clear that great precision is required to race in close proximity with other cars on the far side of 220mph [354km/h]. I realise I’ll be on a steep learning curve, but I’ll be flying to Indianapolis from Barcelona immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix, practising our McLaren-Honda-Andretti car at Indy from May 15th onwards, hopefully clocking up a large number of miles every day, and I know how good the Andretti Autosport guys are. I’ll be proud to race with them, and I intend to mine their knowledge and expertise for as much info as I possibly can.”

– Fernando Alonso

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Alonso’s decision to temporarily leave the Formula One paddock will give him the opportunity to win in 2017 and possibly become only the second Indy rookie to win the 500 following Alexander Rossi’s success. It also opens the door to Jenson Button’s return. At Monaco, the power deficit that the Honda power unit has will be less damaging to the team’s pursuit for points, and a special cameo from Jenson Button this season would definitely boost the mood around the McLaren-Honda garages.

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