McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has said the decision to race at the Indy 500 next month is much more than a PR stunt.
Fernando Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix in order to race in the US and try and secure the second jewel of the Triple Crown that he has set his heart on winning.
The news has brought a much-need distraction to McLaren as they try to get to the bottom of their problems with Honda, but Boullier revealed that it is more to do with keeping Alonso's competitive streak alive.
"Some people have said it's PR, hiding, a smokescreen, whatever – but it's also for him to keep his motivation," said Boullier.
"It's not money. It's not lifestyle. This guy is competitive in everything he's doing, even when he's going out next Sunday racing go-karts at his track – he will be as competitive as this Sunday or 10 years ago.