Andretti Autosport team boss Michael Andretti is pushing Fernando Alonso to make a decision on his racing future and has revealed that whatever decision is made, it won’t be for the odd race here and there. Speaking to Autoweek, Andretti said:
“It was put to Alonso if he wants to do a partial season and he said no. If he does it, he wants to do the whole thing or not at all. There are still a lot of things in the air; a lot of things still have to happen.
“We are getting to a critical time and we have to get some things done in the next week or so. [McLaren] have to get their driver situation settled. Is Fernando going to stay? Is he going to go? Is he going to come here? Is he going to stay in Formula 1? Is he going to retire? What is he going to do? Zak has to work on his Formula 1 plan and he has a lot to work out there, but we’ll see what is going to happen.”
Andretti also specified that if no decision is made before the Pocono IndyCar round on 19 August, there will be no possibility of Alonso securing a 2019 IndyCar drive with the team. Of course, this is just one team – he could decide to drive for another outfit entirely.
Andretti added that if Alonso did make the switch stateside, it could help kick IndyCar into a golden period not seen since the CART heyday:
“For me, I would love to have him because he was a joy to work with. We had a lot of fun at Indy and I think we would have a lot of fun doing this all year long.
“It would create a buzz, and a buzz is something you can’t buy. It would go back to like it was when Nigel Mansell came over. It feels like the early 1990s when things started to go for IndyCar. The timing of Fernando coming to IndyCar could help set it off.”
In F1, Alonso’s abilities as a driver are currently submerged beneath a car that can’t seemingly do better than the fringes of the points. His continuing frustrations with his lack of competitiveness due to the car are aired over the team radio almost every race weekend.
The appetite to pursue the infamous triple-crown is also a big factor. It’s another huge accolade that is attainable for Alonso and could be a defining factor as to where he races in 2019.