The news that Fernando Alonso will compete in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 this year has been welcomed by Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Verizon IndyCar Series.
The Spaniard has announced that he will skip the Monaco Grand Prix in order to focus on the Indy 500, where he will pilot the #29 Andretti Autosport machine, becoming the ninth driver in the history of the legendary event to race there having previously won the Formula 1 World Driver’s Championship.
“The entire INDYCAR community – competitors, fans, media, everyone – is delighted and excited at the prospect of a driver as brilliant as Fernando making his debut in our series,” said Miles.
“Even better, he’ll be making that debut in the greatest race of our year, the world-famous Indy 500.”
Miles believes it is entirely possible that Alonso can come to the event and become a contender, and has not ruled out him becoming the second consecutive rookie winner, with Alexander Rossi having won the event back in 2016 whilst running with Andretti Herta Autosport.
“Could history repeat itself? Stranger things have happened,” said Miles. “But whether or not Fernando wins this year, I’m thrilled that the name of McLaren will be returning to Indianapolis.
“Three times in the 1970s the Indy 500 was won by a driver at the wheel of a McLaren – one win for Mark Donohue and two wins for Johnny Rutherford – and I’m sure Johnny will be at the Brickyard again this year to cheer on his old team.
“Last but not least, we should all remember Bruce McLaren, the team’s founder, a brilliant driver-engineer-entrepreneur who was tragically killed while testing a McLaren M8D Can-Am car at Goodwood 47 long years ago and who will finally and rightfully be inducted to the Auto Racing Hall of Fame this year.”