The two-time F1 world champion will skip showpiece in Monte Carlo in favour of racing in the famous Indycar race
FERNANDO ALONSO has defended his decision to ditch the Monaco GP for the Indy 500 and says he is in it to win it.
The two-time F1 world champion will skip this season’s showpiece in Monte Carlo next Sunday in favour of racing in the famous Indycar race.
The Spaniard’s decision has drawn mixed reviews along the F1 paddock with many surprised that he would miss such a prestigious race in Europe.
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However, Alonso, 35, is confident he’s made the right decision because he is a racer at heart.
He said: “It’s hard to miss the Monaco Grand Prix, but the tradition at Indy is tremendous as well.
“Here I am, a veteran driver, but it’s all brand new to me. But I want to make something clear. I’m not coming for a week off or to just have fun – I am a racer, I am coming to race.
“I love to race. Like really, really race. And that’s why on May 28, the biggest weekend in motorsport, I won’t be with my Formula One team at the Monaco Grand Prix.
“I will be in Indianapolis. Racing at the Brickyard. Because I need to be. The Indy 500 is one of the greatest events in the sport.
“Drivers all over the world know this. I belong there. Because I’m a racer. I always have been, and I always will be.”
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Alonso’s decision to switch series half-way through a season as a one-off is hardly bold given McLaren’s showing performances this season.
His absence means Jenson Button will be recalled to drive for McLaren for one race while Alonso says he has had plenty of support from his fellow races to give Indycar racing a go.
He added: “I have been thinking about Indy for four or five years now. I had seen a few races, but didn’t know too much about the series.
“I knew some of the names, and the teams, but basically it’s all new information for me. So I am back to doing what I love again, learning.
“Everyone – from the team at McLaren Honda Andretti, to the people I’ve met during my time in America – has been so helpful.
“The only people who aren’t so helpful are the other Formula One drivers, because they’re all jealous! I joke. They are all very supportive of me and keep wishing me good luck.
“It means a lot when one of us does well in another series. When Nico Hulkenberg won at Le Mans in the FIA WEC in 2015, it was a big deal for us.”