Fernando Alonso has never been satisfied with being known as one of the best drivers in Formula One. The Spanish racer has always wanted to be considered one of the best drivers in history.
That was evident early in his career when he became the youngest driver at that time to win the Formula One title. He was 24 years, 59 days old in 2005 and that broke Emerson Fittipaldi’s record as the youngest F-1 champion.
Alonso won his second F-1 crown the following year.
Alonso has enjoyed celebrity status all over the world. With 32 wins and 97 podiums, he is one of the most accomplished drivers in F-1 history
But that isn’t enough to satisfy Alonso. He wants to be one of the best drivers in the history of auto racing.
That is why he came to the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in 2017. He wanted to join the ranks of Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell — Formula One champions who tackled the most intimidating race in the world.
Alonso quickly adapted to the McLaren Honda that was prepared in an alliance with Andretti Autosport. He called the high-speed pack running “the most fun he’s ever had” behind the wheel of a race car.
Alonso started fifth, led 27 laps and was a contender to win before his Honda engine blew 21 laps from the checkered flag. He finished 24th but vowed to return.
He skipped last year’s Indy 500 to concentrate on McLaren’s F-1 team and compete in the Grand Prix of Monaco.
But he accomplished another one of his dreams last year by winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After sharing the winning Toyota at Le Mans, it created an even stronger desire for Alonso to return to the Indianapolis 500. It’s the only jewel missing from racing’s Triple Crown — victories at Monaco, Le Mans and Indianapolis. Hill is the only driver to win all three. The British driver won the Formula One race at Monaco in 1963, the 1966 Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1972.
Alonso won at Monaco in 2006 and ’07 and won in his Le Mans debut last June.
“The aim is to do something unprecedented in motorsports,” Alonso said. “I realized I could have different things in my life.”
Alonso’s full focus is on the 103rd Indianapolis 500.
“I think it’s a race that we consider one of the three biggest in motorsports,” Alonso said. “The way of driving those cars, the way of anticipating the tows, the overtaking maneuvers, everything is quite different to what we have in Formula One. Going out of that comfort zone, and to start from zero, it was quite fascinating. And I liked that feeling.
“I’ve made clear for some time my desire to achieve the Triple Crown,” Alonso said. “I had an incredible experience at Indianapolis in 2017 and I knew in my heart of hearts I had to go back if the opportunity was there.”