F1: Alonso Ditches Monaco For Indy 500
Personally I'm not a big fan of Fernando Alonso. There's no question he can drive a Grand Prix car, but his ego and constant whining do him no favours outside of one. As a rookie Lewis Hamilton exposed the Alonso myth. Had Alonso joined Mercedes this year (or if he does so next) chances are Hamilton will hand him his backside.
When he was battling Ferrari for the World Championship he claimed the world title was rigged in their favour, yet failed to produce a title in his subsequent time at Ferrari. He was probably complicit in Renault's rigging of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix and it has been suggested he was guilty of attempting to blackmail his McLaren team over Stepneygate in 2007.
This year he has spoken in volumes about the performance of the Honda engine in the Malaren. None of it good. To listen to Alonso's in-car radio and interviews you would think he was performing miraculously to haul the McLaren into the midfield. Except last year's head to head results suggest he got little more out of the car than team mate Jensen Button. Being partnered with rookie Stoffel Vandoorne appears to be flattering his performance.
However there is one track above all others on the calendar where a driver is able to transcend the limitations of his machine. One where a power deficit is less important and even dreadful handling or other car limitations can be overcome by a driver's talent.
Monaco. The jewel in the Grand Prix crown.
Witness wins by Gilles Villeneuve in 1981, Keke Rosberg in 1983, Ayrton Senna in 1992 and Olivier Panis in 1996. In cars with no business winning.
A bit like this year's McLaren-Honda then. of all the races this season this would be the one Alonso should be relishing.
Apparently not. Instead the Spaniard will be driving a Mclaren badged Andretti Lola-Honda at Indianapolis, for the 500 mile race.
This seems both foolhardy and wasteful. Indycar doesn't have a great safety record over the last few years. The thrill of turning left 800 times doesn't seem to compensate for the chance to score a big result in Monaco.
And there's also a possibility that he'll be shown up by the Indycar regulars, few of whom can claim the ego or record of achievement Alonso can boast of.
Is this a racer's move? The suggestion being that he can step into the car and beat all the regulars. Or is it just borne of frustration after so many barren years in Formula One?
Whatever the reason it looks like 9 bad move for Alonso with little to gain and so much to lose.