Alonso already has a second-place finish
with McLaren at Indy – in the USGP there in
2007, when he followed teammate Lewis
Hamilton home. Still some room for
improvement come May 28, then...
Fernando Alonso’s decision
to step out of his F1 ride for
the series’ most high-profile
race in Monaco in favor of the
Indy 500 resulted from a
number of factors,
not the least
being the dismal
performance of the
team to date. In
Russia, the program hit a new
low when Alonso’s car failed
even to take the start.
“It’s tough, it’s frustrating –
every weekend is the same,”
admitted Alonso, who believes
he is turning in some of his
best driving performces this
year, despite the weakness at
the back of his car. “Not being
able to take part in
the race and not
being able to finish
any race so far this
But Formula 1 is my life, so
hopefully we can improve the
If not, he’s already begun
exploring other options...
Given its performances thus
far in F1’s turbo-hybrid era, a
Honda power unit deal might
seem a dubious choice. But for
Sauber, which has been
struggling financially and
competitively with year-old
Ferrari customer engines, it’s a
calculated risk worth taking.
The deal, which Honda
says will also be a customer
arrangement, “sets the course
for a successful future – from
a strategic as well as from a
said Sauber team principal
It’s certainly a brave move.
McLaren-Honda’s fortunes go bad from bad to worse
A FRUSTRATING DAY JOB
SAUBER’S HONDA HAIL-MARY
good feeling, you know, to be able to feel
the respect of the place, the respect of
the car, the respect of the speed. It’s
something that, for any racing driver, it’s
just pure adrenaline, so it was a good day.”
Michael Andretti, whose team is
fielding Alonso’s car in a partnership
with McLaren, was no less impressed.
“He gets it. He’s one of the best in the
world and you can see why,” Andretti
said. “He watched what he was doing with
his line and was changing up lap to lap to
get a feel. He’s the real deal; I think he’s
going to be really strong this month.”
If so, the benefits could spread far
beyond just Andretti’s team.
Alonso’s Indy entry is decked out in papaya orange,
indicative of the heritage McLaren aims to evoke – and
perhaps a harbinger of a wider IndyCar Series program.
Weapon of a familiar color
NOW AS THEN
took a similarly liveried
McLaren to victory in
1976 Indianapolis 500,
the last of the
marque’s three Indy
wins in the ’70s.
Honda have yet
to give Alonso a
car in F1 that can
finish – and even
starting is iffy.
Sauber’s C36, powered by year-old Ferrari
units, is yet to crack the top 10 in 2017.