Fernando Alonso Won't Run IndyCar Full Time Next Year

Fernando Alonso before things went south in Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
Fernando Alonso before things went south in Indianapolis 500 qualifying.
Photo: Michael Conroy (AP)

One of the best things about Fernando Alonso’s retirement from Formula One stardom isn’t that he’s free from McLaren-related woes, mainly because he’s not, or that he’s now taking up and Instagramming his long-neglected pastime of knitting little berets for kittens—again, because he’s not (that we know of). It’s been watching him race every kind of car he can get himself a seat in.


But that surprisingly exciting retirement tour won’t include a full-time IndyCar run, at least as far as the 2020 race season is concerned.

After failing to qualify for his one-off Indianapolis 500 attempt this year in spectacular McLaren fashion, Motorsport.com reports that Alonso said he isn’t planning a full IndyCar season next year. There have been thoughts that Alonso would give IndyCar a try after his incredible 2017 Indy 500 run in a car backed by Andretti Autosport, and with his schedule about to be freed up from World Endurance Championship commitments, 2020 seems like good timing.

But, for a few reasons, Alonso said it won’t be next year that the IndyCar run finally happens. Alonso didn’t entirely rule out an eventual IndyCar season, but told Motorsport.com it’s not going to happen “at the moment”:

“If I do Indy, a one-off will be the approach again,” he said. “To do the full season at the moment is too much of a commitment in terms of races.

“If you go there you should be in contention; you are not a tourist.”

He explained that doing the full season would involve him racing at multiple new venues which would required extra preparation.

McLaren is on the same page about 2020 after its monumental failure to make the Indy 500, with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown saying it’s not “likely” that the team runs the full season next year.

Motorsport.com reports that Alonso wasn’t into the idea of running races before the 2020 Indy 500, if he does decide to enter the race, because it’s typically the first oval on the IndyCar schedule anyway. He also wasn’t quite ready to sign a verbal contract to return to the big race with McLaren, because, if we’re honest, no one should be. It’s McLaren.


But with his schedule more open than he’s used to and no plans to contest a full IndyCar season next year, perhaps we’ll see Alonso race in some other, wackier kinds of vehicles. Or perhaps he’ll decide to pursue some off-track hobbies, like, oh, knitting little berets for kittens.

Either way, Fernando. Either way.

Staff writer, Jalopnik


The Original Mr. Goodpost

I mean, I get it. A full IndyCar season is a big ass commitment and he is a super rich dude that can essentially choose when and where he races. He doesn’t need to prove himself, and I doubt he is overly interested in a lot of stops on the calendar.

But as a racing fan, I want to see him do it. IndyCar is probably the toughest series in the world on the driver (no power steering, no power brakes, no traction control, high downforce, high danger, basically equal cars), and I want to see the best drivers try it.