After ending his Formula One career, Fernando Alonso will look to complete motorsport’s triple crown at Indianapolis next year.
Fernando Alonso will drive in the Indy 500 in 2019 for McLaren, the team confirmed on Saturday.
The announcement comes as a surprise after McLaren boss Zak Brown revealed at the United States Grand Prix in October that the team had shelved plans to compete in IndyCar next year.
Alonso announced earlier in the year he will leave Formula One at the end of the season, the two-time world champion deciding it was time to move on after his 17th season on the grid.
However, the Spaniard will continue his partnership with McLaren next year, as he looks to become just the second man to complete motorsport’s prestigious triple crown. He needs to win the Indy500 to match Graham Hill’s achievement, having already triumphed in the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans.
The 37-year-old will have another crack at the Indy 500 after missing out in 2017, a late engine failure scuppering his hopes of success.
“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the triple crown,” Alonso said.
“I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there. I’m especially glad to be returning with McLaren.
— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) November 10, 2018
“One of the things I’m looking forward to most is seeing the fans again, who are absolutely fantastic.”
Brown declared there was “unfinished business” for McLaren with Alonso at the famous Brickyard circuit.
“McLaren has a long and fond relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and it’s a case of unfinished business for us with Fernando,” the McLaren Racing CEO said.
“No Indy 500 is a cakewalk, it’s a massive challenge. We have the utmost respect for the race and our competitors. So, we are under no illusions. But McLaren are racers first and foremost, as is Fernando. We’re going for it.”