The recent news of Fernando Alonso, the two time Formula 1 World Champion missing the Monaco Grand Prix in lieu of his participation in the Indycar 500 series at the Indianapolis circuit has stunned Motorsports fans around the globe. In what is considered to be a very brave move for the 2 time Formula 1 champion to divert away from the pinnacle of the motorsport, even if it’s just for one race competing in totally untested waters.
Fernando Alonso will be racing for the Andretti Autosport team in his first ever oval race, though he has raced the extended Indianapolis circuit from the early seasons of Formula 1. The move for Formula 1 drivers to IndyCar is surprisingly not as rare as you would think, there have been quite a number of popular names from the pinnacle of the sport taking up this change and doing surprisingly well.
The most noteworthy of appearances at the Indy 500 was in the form of the “British Lion” Nigel Mansell, who competed in the 1993 right after a nasty spat with his Williams Formula 1 team. The raw driving abilities of the formidable Formula 1 driver was evident, with him getting quickly up to speed with his car and the racing formats. In what is considered a spectacular highlight of the race, Mansell overtook from the outside to lead the race with just 20 laps to go, though the more experienced competitors on the track retook the lead dropping Mansell to 3rd and securing him a podium in his first appearance.
The same year of Mansell competing in the Indy500, he was accompanied by fellow Formula 1 compatriot Nelson Piquet. The 3 time Formula 1 Champion, was competing in his second year of the Indy500 after he suffered a serious leg injury in the previous year’s testing. The Brazilian’s streak of bad luck continued with him having to retire early in the race with a blown engine.
The most recognisable name from the 21st century of Formula 1 was in the form of the ex-Scuderia Ferrari Driver Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian Barrichello had an amazing qualifying session in 2012 season IndyCar Indianapolis race with being as consistent as ever and building on his lap times. He just missed out on securing the pole position in his first ever outing and qualified 10th. The Brazilian drove a very conservative race to secure 11th place finish and won the Rookie of the Year honours in the process.
Regarded as possibly the best talent in Formula 1 grid today, the last 3 seasons haven’t been kind on Fernando Alonso. Rigged with engine problems and inadequate performance to compete with the top runners, the Spaniard has been among the back runners and retires. The Indy500 will essentially be a great opportunity for the Spaniard to race in a competitive car and do what he does best, to Get Racy. We just hope the Honda engine on the back of that Andretti Autosports car has his back this time !