We all knew Fernando Alonso wouldn’t leave his Indianapolis 500 legacy at just one start that ended in an all-too-poetic engine failure in 2017, mainly because he said as much. So, after a year off from the race and without a full Formula One racing schedule to distract him, Alonso’s back in bright orange this May.
There’s one thing that’s different, though: Alonso will run a Chevrolet engine in his No. 66 car at the end of May this year, instead of a Honda like the one that failed on him in his 2017 Indy 500 debut with Andretti Autosport.
From McLaren’s announcement:
The car, built at the iconic McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, UK, sports the unique McLaren papaya orange, which echoes the colour chosen by Bruce McLaren for the team’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix entry in 1966 and reflects the livery of the McLaren Formula 1 team’s MCL34. [...]
The #66 race car is en route from the UK to the US ahead of the open test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on April 24. Meanwhile its sister test car will take to track at a closed test at the Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, in the hands of Fernando.
As might already be obvious, Alonso’s spending his retirement from F1 getting back to his goal of collecting one of the triple crowns in motorsport: Victories in the Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. He’s got wins in two of those three races, and you already know which one he’s missing.
Alonso looked like he could win in his Indy 500 debut two years ago, which he skipped the Monaco Grand Prix for despite still being a full-time McLaren F1 driver that year. (Who wouldn’t, given how bad those cars were?) He spent the race reminding us of how well he can race cars when they actually work, but it wasn’t meant to be—like many of his other race cars plastered in McLaren orange that year, Alonso’s car gave up on lap 179 of 200. He was out of contention due to an engine failure.
But things are a lot different this year, no matter how similar they might look—from Alonso’s racing commitments to the engine powering his Indy 500 race car.
We’ll just have to see if they play out differently on track, too.