Is Liberty behind Alonsos Indy 500 ride?: McDonald

Is Liberty behind Alonsos Indy 500 ride?: McDonald

Fernando Alonso, who will get a private test day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 3, will be in Birmingham, Ala., this weekend to watch the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsport Park. There will be more questions about his decision to drive in this year’s 101st Indianapolis 500. You never really know who or what to believe.Zak Brown, who joined McLaren (Alonso’s current employer) over the winter, told reporters last week that the whole thing started as a joke before the season started and that it had picked up steam from there.For his part, Alonso said that Brown had asked him at Australia what his plans were for the future and he’d answered that he wanted to run Indy someday. That’s when it started, he said.So, what really happened?I think there are two possibilities. One is that after that first race in Australia, Alonso hit the roof when he realized this year’s Honda F1 engine was another dog and he didn’t have a hope in hell of either winning races or challenging for the championship. I think he was so angry that he was prepared to quit. Brown, knowing that McLaren needed Alonso for no other reason than to continue the search for a primary sponsor (this happens in all big-league motorsport – just ask Paul Tracy), asked his No. 1 what it would take to keep him on the team and Alonso said a ride at Indianapolis.Article Continued BelowThe other possibility is that this had been in the works for some time. Alonso said last fall that he wanted to do both Indianapolis and Le Mans before he retired. McLaren, in preparing to arrange an entry for Indianapolis this year, knew there would be a conflict with the Grand Prix of Monaco happening on the same day and so signed the retiring Jenson Button to a reserve-driver contract with the specific condition that he be available for Monte Carlo, should he be needed. Which is exactly what happened.Now, you never know, but there could be something else in the works, too.I received a very intriguing letter via email from a retired engineer in the Kingston area, Dan Sideen. He’s a regular reader of Toronto Star Wheels and calls himself a car and F1 nut. Wrote Mr. Sideen:


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