When Formula One driver Fernando Alonso announced on Wednesday that he’d skip the Monaco Grand Prix for the Indianapolis 500, it was fun news. Everyone loves a cross-discipline racing start, especially on a big stage. That is, everyone except Bernie Ecclestone. He would have tried to stop the deal from happening.
Though Liberty Media yanked former F1 CEO Ecclestone out of power and into a smaller “Chairman Emeritus” role soon after acquiring the series, Ecclestone still manages to let everyone know how he feels about things. And he isn’t thrilled about Alonso striking a deal to run the Indy 500, according to ESPN:
During his first appearance back in the paddock since F1's change in ownership, Ecclestone said he would have tried to block what has become the biggest news story of the 2017 season.
“I think it’s probably good for [Alonso],” Ecclestone told reporters in Bahrain. “I think if I could have persuaded McLaren not to go I would have done it.
“I would have said wait until your contract finishes and then you can do what you like but you are in the middle of Formula One and you are a Formula One driver. But I don’t like to see him at the back of the grid anyway.”
As we all know, Ecclestone talks about a lot of things that he tends not to act upon. Even as CEO, it would have been a stretch for him to meddle in the deals of individual race teams over the driver lineup for a single race.
Of course, Alonso’s decision to race in the Indy 500 isn’t the best news for his McLaren F1 team. He’s a two-time champion missing a major stop in the F1 season, leaving his sad, busted and straight-up depressing race team to pull Jenson Button out of his total non-retirement as a sub for him.
Regardless of how the race team has to compensate for it, in Alonso’s current situation, racing in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport probably falls under the category of “places Alonso would rather be.”