MotoGP Boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has commented on Fernando Alonso’s stint in the Indy500 – saying that recent changes to F1 facilitated it.
It appears that we’ll be talking about Fernando Alono’s tour of the Indy 500 much longer than anyone had anticipated. And there’s good reason for it. Fernando’s decision – and clearance – to forfeit the F1 Monaco Grand Prix in favor of tackling Indianapolis simply would not have been possible under the Bernie Era. An era that has only recently come to pass.
Despite being new in the driver’s seat, Liberty Media has hit the track firing on all cylinders. The American-based company was loud and clear about its plans to revamp and revitalize Formula One, and they’ve set about doing just that. While it was the likes of Zak Brown and other grandees from the McLaren – Honda project, there’s little doubt that Liberty Media offered the final say in releasing the Spaniard.
A highly controversial move that has benefitted both F1 and IndyCar, and a move that would not have been possible under Formula One’s past supremo.
“To me, as a friend of Alonso, I think it’s great that he will race in the Indy 500,”
But at the same time I believe that something must be happening with the [F1] championship for that to have happened. This wouldn’t have been possible some years ago.
I would have been surprised [if it had happened] with Ecclestone there.”
Mr. Ezpeleta went on to say that such a move in MotoGP is not likely to happen due to contracting issues, but that those issues can be easily avoided if the team has a good enough relationship with its rider:
“If you have to use a contract, it’s complicated. I think the secret it to have a good enough relationship with the riders so that doesn’t happen.
In our contracts, there’s a clause that specifically states that riders can’t compete in other series unless we approve it. But we have never had to use it.”
It’s entirely possible that Fernando’s deal with McLaren swung in the opposite direction, with the driver issuing his desire to participate in the Indy 500 as a condition for him to continue his stint at McLaren after his contract is up. Zak Brown has indeed come out and suggested that it was as much his idea as it was Alonso’s. One suspects that this is more damage control than a legitimate claim.