People started wondering if Fernando Alonso would be able to race in this months 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network). Just last week, Alonso was still overseas and according to Zak Brown, there was some worry he’d be able to get clearance to come into the country.
After all, there’s still a pandemic and traveling across borders through in country has consequences.
Luckily the worry is gone. Alonso will be here next week now and stay here so he can race his No. 66 Chevrolet at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It is resolved,” Brown said in a press conference during the F1 race weekend in England on Saturday. “It got resolved this week, and I can tell you when I got the phone call and it hadn’t yet been resolved it was a bit nerve-racking but it’s all solved now. That’s good, Fernando will be in America next week.”
Alonso, missed the race last year due to a miserable amount of problems with McLaren. He elected to come back this year to the team for a one off opportunity as they’ve now partnered with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for the entire season.
They’ve had some great success too. Pato O’Ward sits fourth in the points. He won a pole in Road America, finished second in that race too. His teammate Oliver Askew scored a pair of top 10s in the last doubleheader of the season in Iowa including a podium (3rd) in the opening race of that weekend.
While they’ll have a combined one Indy 500 start between the trio this month, they expect to be competitive.
Also, with Monaco moving to a week earlier next year, Brown says that he’d be open to bringing Alonso over for another try too. See, Alonso signed with Renault for 2021 to make a full time F1 return, but there’s no conflict between the two races now. Yes, qualifying for the 500 can’t happen seeing that he will be overseas, but Brown notes someone could qualify the car for him still.
“I don’t know what his Renault contract says,” Brown said. “From our part of view next year the races don’t conflict and the way the Indy 500 is run the car qualifies, not the driver. So it is not out of the question, especially as he’ll have more experience, that if he wanted to do the Indy 500 in 2021 and his contract allowed — I just don’t know what his contract allows — you could have a situation where someone qualifies the car for him and if he wanted to come compete at the Indy 500 in ’21.
“We’d have to see where we were at as a team, but certainly that wouldn’t be something that I would be opposed to if we had a seat available and he wanted to do the Indy 500 in ’21 and he was allowed to do the Indy 500 in ’21, then that scenario could play out in a positive way.”