Photo: Thibault Camus (AP)
Well, there you have it, folks. After months of speculation—with confirmation that he wouldn’t be returning to Formula One and the full force of Alonsomania reaching maddening heights post-Le Mans—Fernando Alonso has made it clear. He will not be joining the IndyCar series for a full-time campaign in 2019.
The news comes just one day after Zak Brown, boss man at McLaren, confirmed that the team won’t be running a car full-time in IndyCar, either. It only made sense that the Alonso news was set to fall in line soon after, unless he’d gone ahead and made a different deal with a different team.
The reasoning here is pretty simple: the relationship with Honda. McLaren’s entry into IndyCar would have required the Honda Performance Development and the American Honda Motor Company to find a way to peacefully coexist. After some pretty distasteful remarks about Honda’s engines in 2017 and the switch to Renault engines, the folks in Japan have currently refused to allow the Honda name to be associated with anything McLaren. Ouch.
In a surprising twist, though, Alonso’s confirmation that he wouldn’t be taking part in IndyCar had nothing to do with McLaren, as reported by Autoweek:
I would like to do it someday, but not next year. The total dedication that would be necessary never entered into my plans. Whether or not McLaren entered full time, in no case was it going to be with me.
We have to sew some things together still, interlacing some plans and categories and brands. But the whole IndyCar championship was never something I wanted.
Fans have expressed both shock and understanding at these developments. Some were absolutely certain that Alonso would be running in IndyCar—others, however, were fully convinced that was a pipe dream.
Alonso’s racing plans for 2019 are still unconfirmed, but this is one piece we can knock off the puzzle.
However, both Brown and Alonso have expressed interest in running the Indy 500 in 2019—a decision that, according to both, is going to be made during the off-season.