Art St. Cyr, the President of Honda Performance Development, believes the addition of two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso to the 2017 Indianapolis 500 field is great for the manufacturer and the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Alonso has been announced to race the #29 Andretti Autosport entry, which is in collaboration with McLaren, and St. Cyr believes there is no other company outside of Honda that could have brought in such a high profile name to IndyCar.
“Obviously, we’re delighted to have Fernando Alonso join Honda for the Indianapolis 500,” said St. Cyr. “It strengthens our overall effort to win a twelfth ‘500’, and is a great addition to the race for fans of motorsport worldwide.
“This accomplishment is truly a reflection of Honda’s global motorsports footprint. No company, outside of Honda, could join Andretti Autosport, McLaren and Fernando Alonso in a united effort to compete in the Indianapolis 500.
“We warmly welcome Fernando to the HPD family and eagerly look forward to working with him in May.”
Zak Brown, the executive director of the McLaren Technology Group, believes Alonso can be a contender come race day at Indianapolis, and believes he is the best racing driver in the world.
“Could Fernando win this year’s Indy 500? Well, I wouldn’t be so silly as to make any such rash prediction, but I expect him to be in the mix,” said Brown.
“Put it this way: the team he’ll be racing for won the race last year, using the same Honda engine, and he’s the best racing driver in the world. That’s quite a compelling combination.”