Fernando Alonso, McLaren Honda Andretti, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2017

Alonso’s 32 new rivals: Who’s who on the 2017 Indy 500 entry list

IndyCarPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The Formula One field will be missing one of its star drivers when it assembles for the Monaco Grand Prix next week.

Fernando Alonso will forego his annual appearance at the principality, where he scored his best result of the season last year with fifth place. He will instead participate in another of the ‘triple crown’ motorsport events: The Indianapolis 500, which this year is being run for the 101st time.

He will encounter a few of his old Formula One rivals plus several hardened veterans of IndyCar’s daunting superspeedway ovals. Alonso got his first taste of sharing a track with them when practice began at the track yesterday. He’ll have many more opportunities to suss them out between now and qualifying this weekend, followed by the race in 12 days’ time.

1. Simon Pagenaud (France) – Penske, Chevrolet

Simon Pagenaud, Indianapolis 500, 2014
Pagenaud’s 2014 Senna tribute helmet
The reigning IndyCar champion has taken two victories on the track’s grand prix circuit which F1 previously used. He had never won on an oval until last month’s race at Phoenix, and that was a somewhat fortunate win. Indianapolis is a completely different beast, however. Bonus trivia point: He used an Ayrton Senna tribute helmet in the 2014 race, marking 20 years since the F1 great’s death.

2. Josef Newgarden (USA) – Penske, Chevrolet

IndyCar’s rising star joined powerhouse team Penske at the start of 2017. He’s out-scored two of his four team mates so far and took his first win with the team in Alabama. Despite a luckless race on the Indianapolis road course last weekend he’s third in the championship. Newgarden’s dominant victory on Iowa’s short oval was gritty stuff as he was still carrying wrist and shoulders injuries from a heavy crash at the Texas superspeedway a few weeks earlier.

3. Helio Castroneves (Brazil) – Penske, Chevrolet

A three-times Indianapolis 500 winner, his most recent victory coming eight years ago. But despite his remarkable consistency Castroneves has never won an IndyCar championship, and he’s gone almost four years without a win of any kind. He’s still quick, however, as his two pole positions already this session attest.

4. Conor Daly (USA) – Foyt, Chevrolet

Son of former F1 racer Derek Daly, Conor Daly turned in some giant-killing runs for the Coyne team last year. But moving to Foyt this year has been a frustrating experience: he’s had to look on from the back of the field as his former team jumped to the sharp end of the grid.

5. James Hinchcliffe (Canada) – Schmidt Peterson, Honda

James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt, IndyCar, Indianapolis 500, 2016
Hinchcliffe took pole at Indianapolis last year
The amiable Hinchcliffe is a fan favourite. He suffered life-threatening injuries in a qualifying crash at Indianapolis in 2015 which ruled him out of the rest of the season. He made a triumphant return last year, claiming pole position for the hundredth running of the race. Honda’s improving form helped him to a win at Long Beach earlier this year.

7. Mikhail Aleshin (Russia) – Schmidt Peterson, Honda

The driver who edged out Daniel Ricciardo for the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 title came close to victories at Mid-Ohio and the Pocono superspeedway last year. He knows how punishing IndyCar’s fastest ovals can be after a brutal crash on the Auto Club Speedway at the end of 2014.

8. Max Chilton (UK) – Ganassi, Honda

While Alonso has set himself the target of winning each race in the ‘triple crown’, former Manor racer Chilton has already raced in all of them. He peaked with seventh on the short Phoenix oval in his debut season last year.

9. Scott Dixon (New Zealand) – Ganassi, Honda

Scott Dixon, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2017
Dixon has endured a luckless start to 2017
The other ‘Iceman’, four-times IndyCar champion Dixon scored his only Indianapolis 500 victory in 2008 while en route to his second title. With Honda enjoying a much more competitive 2017 so far, Ganassi’s switch to the Japanese power plants has proved well-timed and could give Dixon a shot at a second win in the 500. He had a frustrating start to the year, with a poorly-timed caution period spoiling his race at St Petersburg and a strategic error ending his Long Beach victory chances. But consistent points-scoring has helped him to second in the championship.

10. Tony Kanaan (Brazil) – Ganassi, Honda

Kanaan’s 2013 Indianapolis 500 win came after a string of near-misses. At the end of the year he left KV to replace Dario Franchitti at powerhouse team Ganassi but much more was expected than the single win he has taken since then. Like Castroneves, he’s starting to look a little long in the tooth.

11. Spencer Pigot (USA) – Juncos, Chevrolet

As last year, Pigot has switched teams for the Indianapolis 500 as team owner Ed Carpenter occupies his car for the big race. He was among the tail-enders on his debut last year, and needs to show significant improvement to make a case for becoming a full-time driver.

12. Will Power (Australia) – Penske, Chevrolet

No stranger to the soaring highs and plunging lows of racing life, Power has amassed 28 IndyCar wins yet just a single championship in 2014. Victory at Indianapolis has eluded him too. This time 12 months ago he was clearly not on top form following an injury which ruled him out of the first race of the year. He recovered to chase Pagenaud for the title until his car failed in the final race. But a win and a second place in the last two races suggests things have finally turned around for him.

14. Carlos Munoz (Colombia) – Foyt, Chevrolet

IndyCar's number 14 Munoz has flown at Indianapolis
IndyCar’s number 14 Munoz has flown at Indianapolis
Munoz grabbed a somewhat lucky win on the streets of Detroit two years ago but it’s on the superspeedways where he really shines. He started and finished second in his first Indy 500 four years ago, and last year only Alexander Rossi’s outrageous fuel gamble stopped him from winning it. Whether he can recapture that form with the Foyt team, having been dropped by Andretti, remains to be seen.

15. Graham Rahal (USA) – RLL, Honda

His father Bobby Rahal scored an emotional Indianapolis 500 victory in 1986, 11 days before team owner Jim Trueman succumbed to cancer. The young Rahal has come on strong in the past two seasons, playing in the top five of the championship both times. Two of his last three wins have come on speedways. He showed great form on the Indianapolis road course last weekend, climbing from 20th on the grid to finish sixth.

16. Oriol Servia (Spain) – RLL, Honda

The only other Spanish driver in the race is a veteran of the American racing scene. This will be Servia’s ninth 500, though as he is no longer a full-time driver he will inevitably start at a disadvantage.

17. Sebastian Saavedra (Colombia) – AFS, Chevrolet

The unpromising Saavedra took a somewhat fortunate pole position on the Indianapolis road course three years ago, then failed to get off the line and was hit from behind. This will be his first start in two years.

18. Sebastien Bourdais (France) – Coyne, Honda

Sebastien Bourdais, IndyCar, St Petersburg, 2017
Bourdais won round one from last on the grid
Bourdais dominated the old Champ Car series before starting his one-and-a-half year F1 stint in 2008. He returned to a reunified championship in which he’s struggled to make the same impression, but that may have changed this year. Having jumped ship to Coyne as the KV team collapsed, Bourdais took an improbably win from last on the grid in the season-opener. He followed it up with second at Long Beach but luck has been against him lately. Mikhail Aleshin took him out at Phoenix and his Honda engine failed in the Indianapolis Grand Prix.

19. Ed Jones (UK) – Coyne, Honda

The Dubai-born racer won the Indy Lights championship last year and has quietly impressed in his first races as team mate to Bourdais. He started last year’s Indy Lights support race from pole but Dean Stoneman beat him to victory by two-thousandths of a second.

20. Ed Carpenter (USA) – Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet

The oval specialist and Indianapolis native took pole position for this race in 2013 and 2014. He is spectacular on those low-downforce qualifying runs, but his last three attempts at the race have ended in disappointment.

21. JR Hildebrand (USA) – Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet

Unless he ever manages to win the race, Hildebrand faces forever being known as the driver threw away victory in the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie by crashing within sight of the flag. Following three part-time campaigns he finally managed to land a regular seat again this year, but injured his hand in a collision at Long Beach and had to miss a round.

22. Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia) – Penske, Chevrolet

Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power, Indianapolis 500, 2015
Montoya’s Indy 500 record is four starts, two wins
Alonso’s biggest rival for the ‘triple crown’? Montoya already has Indianapolis 500 (2000, 2015) and Monaco Grand Prix (2003) victories to his name – now he just needs someone to offer him an LMP1 car. In the meantime he’s back for a two-race stint at Penske. He qualified a decent fifth on his return last weekend but slipped down the order in the race. Expect him to bring his best for the big race, especially after the disappointment of being the first driver to retire last year.

24. Sage Karam (USA) – Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Chevrolet

A quick driver who’s not been able to hold onto the regular spot in the series he deserves. Karam has turned to sports car racing as he’s only been able to get one-off Indianapolis 500 deals since his 2015 campaign for Ganassi. Last year he dropped out early but was an impressive ninth on his debut in 2014.

26. Takuma Sato (Japan) – Andretti, Honda

How differently might Sato be thought of had his audacious bid to pass Dario Franchitti at the beginning of the final lap in 2012 come off? He spun into the barriers, thereby sealing Franchitti’s final win in the race. The long-time Honda servant will be one of Alonso’s team mates in the six-strong Andretti squad having moved over from Foyt at the end of last year.

27. Marco Andretti (USA) – Andretti, Honda

It’s eleven years since a teenage Andretti missed out on victory at Indianapolis on his debut, beaten to the line by Sam Hornish by just six hundredths of a second. Few might have expected his IndyCar career since then to have featured just a pair of wins, the last coming in 2011 before the current chassis was introduced.

28. Ryan Hunter-Reay (USA) – Andretti, Honda

Ryan Hunter-Reay IndyCar Indianapols 2015
Hunter-Reay is one of Alonso’s Indy 500-winning team mates
An IndyCar champion and an Indianapolis 500 winner to boot, Hunter-Reay’s form has been marked by inconsistency of late. A timely third place on Saturday was his best result of the season so far. He played a vital role in team mate Alexander Rossi’s win last year by positioning his car so Rossi could run in the slipstream. But he’ll want to be the one taking benefit from any team co-operation this time.

29. Fernando Alonso (Spain) – McLaren/Andretti, Honda

Alonso has made a brave decision to break out of his F1 comfort zone and take on a totally different challenge. With the might of McLaren allied to the expertise of Andretti, he should go into the race with at least as much chance of anyone as winning. Although he will have ample testing time to acclimatise to the speeds involved in racing on ovals, Alonso is well aware that the most difficult thing to learn will be how to drive in traffic.

40. Zach Veach (USA) – Foyt, Chevrolet

This race was supposed to be Veach’s IndyCar debut, but he made an early promotion when he stood in for Hildebrand earlier this year. He ended last year;s Indy Lights championship on an upward swing, winning two of the last three races.

49. Buddy Lazier (USA) – Lazier, Chevrolet

Lazier famously was carrying a back injury when he won the 1996 Indianapolis 500, which was the first to be organised after IndyCar racing split in two. At the age of 49 he’s back again to hold his own against the big names in his tiny, owner-run team.

50. Jack Harvey (UK) – Michael Shank/Andretti, Honda

After finishing fifth in GP3 the same year Daniil Kvyat won the title, Harvey switched focus to America where he finished second in Indy Lights for two years in a row with Schmidt. He also tested for their IndyCar team, but following a season on the sidelines he will make his Indianapolis 500 debut in a car run by Michael Shank racing and Andretti.

63. Pippa Mann (UK) – Coyne, Honda

Mann has been a sporadic IndyCar racer for most of the last six years, and a regular at Indianapolis. Once again she will drive for Coyne, a team which has enjoyed much improved form so far this season.

77. Jay Howard (UK) – Schmidt Peterson, Honda

Back at Indianapolis for the first time in six years, this will be Howard’s first 500 since the current chassis was introduced.

83. Charlie Kimball (USA) – Ganassi, Honda

His uncompromising manner in traffic makes Kimball a regular focus for criticism among his rivals. But Indianapolis tends to be a strong venue for this one-time race winner. He finished the last two races inside the top five.

88. Gabby Chaves (Colombia) – Harding, Chevrolet

After winning the Indy lights title in 2014, Chaves did a full season with Herta in 2015 but was in the tough situation of being a rookie driver without a team mate. He only did a partial season last year.

98. Alexander Rossi (USA) – Andretti-Herta, Honda

Alexander Rossi, Andretti, Indianapolis 500, IndyCar, 2016
Rossi caused a sensation by winning as a rookie
The astonishing circumstances of Rossi’s rookie victory last year will no doubt have inspired Alonso into believing he can do the same. The win was a masterclass of strategy and disciplined driving, as during the race Rossi discovered he could sustain high average lap speeds while reducing his fuel intake, aided at times by help from his team mates. Unsurprisingly that was the highlight of his season: Rossi’s next-best result was fifth. He’s begun his second season fairly well: Hunter-Reay is the only Andretti driver ahead of him in the points.

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69 comments on “Alonso’s 32 new rivals: Who’s who on the 2017 Indy 500 entry list”

  1. As F1 fan I have to admit that Alonso’s decision has broadened my vision of motorsport. And I guess I’m not the only one. Now I see Indy 500 and Le Mans as what they are, mighty races that deserve attention and admiration. I’d like Liberty to foster drivers “crosspollination” more often in the future, even reserving seats for Le Mans and Indy 500 champions at some classical F1 races (Monaco, Silverstone, etc). In my opinion this would be great for fans, business and motorsport in general. Actually the “triple Crown” concept, brought back by Alonso, could be reborn as the “Grand Slam” of motorsport. Why not? It would be great.

    1. Grand Slam’s usually come in 4’s so:
      Monaco GP
      Indy 500
      24HR’s of Le Mans
      (4th Event)

      What would suggestion be for the fourth event?

      While I do like the idea of a crosspollination of drivers, very few drivers will ever get a legitimate shot at actually winning the “Triple Crown” Most racing series have become so specialized that unless you’ve been there for a couple of years, it is unlikely that you can just jump into a car and win right out of the gate. (Granted Hulkenberg and Rossi kind of disprove that). As of right now, I can only think of 1 active driver who has won more then one of the three “Triple Crown” Events. Juan Pablo Montoya. Max Chilton is the only active driver I can think of who has actually races on all three.

      1. @dragon86 If the triple crown is about being the most all-round “complete” racing driver as Alonso puts it, then it has to be in the realm of rallying, surely?

        1. Unicron (@unicron2002)
          16th May 2017, 14:22

          Monte Carlo Rally it is then, good luck with that Grand Slam!

        2. @ninjenius Well, there’s MotoGP as well. What’s their big race?

          1. @dragon86 Admittedly I don’t know enough about Moto GP, perhaps the Isle of Man TT? Is that prestigious enough?

        3. This is an interesting discussion. Rallying in my opinion is too different a discipline for someone like Alonso to succeed at. I’m not saying he couldn’t do well, but I’d never expect him to get close to Ogier, Loeb, Latvala etc – and vice versa in a Formula One car.

          Maybe the Grand Slam should be something like an ‘invitation only’ modified Race of Champions, where the winners of the F1 WDC, Indy 500, Monaco GP, WRC, Le Mans 24 Hrs etc are all invited to take part in a mini 10-day, 10-race championship to declare the years’ Champion of Champions!

          Could be fun…!

      2. American F1
        16th May 2017, 15:32

        Dakar Rally? NASCAR Daytona 500? Or he could try to do the Surtees and go win Moto GP.

        1. Never forget.

        2. Definitely Dakar. The only racing event that is as big as Indy 500 and Le Mans. I don’t know why the Monaco GP is in there, that’s not even a real race. Replace it with Francorchamps or the Nurburgring.

      3. As I see it, the Triple Crown is either a Monaco win, an Indy 500 win, and a Lemans win, or a F1 Championship, and Indy 500 win, and a Lemans win… therefore a Grand Slam would be Monaco, Indy 500, Lemans, and an F1 WDC.

        1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
          17th May 2017, 1:40

          The WDC is too long an event and requires tremendous commitment with a smidgen of luck. Ideally it should be single events like Bathurst or Pikes Peak.

      4. I would throw out F1 Monaco GP. Seriously. It doesn’t deserve to be part of this. As a race it has no meaning. It was unique 50 years ago, when street tracks weren’t a thing, but today… not.
        It sure has prestige, but nothing more. And it isn’t up for grabs for everybody like Indy and LeMans.

      5. I had wondered if Australia’s Bathurst 1000 race would be a good fourth race.

      6. The Nurburgring 24 Hours – hard racing on the grueling Nordschleife, or Pikes Peak. I believe these are two events that should be considered along with the Triple Crown as the ultimate motor racing events in the world. Beyond all this is the Dakar, but then that wouldn’t be motor racing, it’s rally raid.

    2. Totally agree. But I think the Triple Crown is tough enough to compete in. Not many have done it over the years. Four races would be too many to try to tackle, and there is no fourth race that would be worthy of the others.

    3. I wonder did McLaren Team (UK) painted his car? Then if his engine holds he has an great chance to win.

  2. Piyush (@square-route)
    16th May 2017, 12:28

    Will Power is an awesome name :D

    1. @square-route I always think there must’ve been a point in his youth when he asked his parents, “why did you call me ‘willpower’?”

      1. At least they didn’t name him “Horst”.

      2. To which his dad, E.M. Power, responded: be glad that I didn’t call you Man Power or you could have never driven a car.

        1. ;)
          “ask your smart brother Brian why the clerk swapped his vowels.”
          @aapje

        2. In that case Lance Stroll must be strolling around instead of racing, but then he’s also a lance that gets launched through the air!

          1. Oh, I’m not sure what weapon the lance exactly is…kindly excuse any inaccuracies!

    2. Scott Speed remains my favourite driver name (albeit an ironic one, according to Toro Rosso).

      1. There was once a NASCAR driver whose name was Dick Trickle.

    3. And he’s a fantastically talented driver too.

    4. I will never read that name in the same way ever again

      1. Hey…it beats Dick Trickle from NASCAR.

        1. Don’t forget Dick Seaman

    5. When there’s a will there’s a way. (rotten comedy musical)

    6. Does he have a brother called Max?

  3. Piyush (@square-route)
    16th May 2017, 13:12

    @keithcollantine My name in Hindi means a drink that make you impervious or invulnerable; immortal. Kinda like the elixir of life. I too have asked my parents the same as people started calling me rum and whisky and all the different assorted liquors you might know :D
    I guess I can identify and empathize with Will Power.

    PS : Keith, did you knew that your name ‘Keith’ means ‘Large wood’ ?
    ;P

    1. @square-route That’s the most shameless attempt to win Comment of the Day I’ve ever seen :-)

      1. Piyush (@square-route)
        17th May 2017, 7:34

        @keithcollantine people actually try for that?
        Well, I just said the truth… atleast u didn’t deny it :D

        I would have been furious if my parents would have named me ‘Large wood’.

  4. Memorial Day weekend Sunday is a classic race day for any racing fan. It starts with Monaco in the morning, goes on to Indy 500 in the afternoon and then finally the NASCAR Charlotte race. Last year Kurt Busch raced in both Indy and Charlotte. I have been watching all the three races for a very long time. As an F1 fan I am most excited about the F1 race in the morning.

    BUT I have to admit this. This year, I am more excited about Indy than F1. The fact the Alonso is racing here is super exciting. I must applaud @keithcollantine for the well deserved coverage of the race. This is making things even more interesting.

    Fingers crossed. May 21st is the Qualifying followed by the race on the following Sunday on 28th. !!!! Its gonna be fun. Having said that I believe Monaco this year is also going to be a fun race to follow.

  5. @keithcollantine So Alonso’s just been putting on a Spanish accent all this time? His talents know no bounds!!! :D

    1. @ninjenius Will get that fixed!

  6. I have to say I’m really excited about this. In terms of PR, it’s an ingenious move for Alonso, McLaren, the Indy 500, Formula One and motorsport in general. Every motorsport discipline offers a different challenge and I’m so looking forward to seeing how Alonso fares.

    As others have said, it opens the mind to the thoughts of other cross-series guest appearances (think Lotterer in the Caterham a few years back). I’ve no idea how this could logically work, but in principal, something along the lines of each team being allowed to run a non-points scoring third car at two Grand Prix’s during the year might be interesting. This could be used tactically by the teams to deprive others of points, as well as to go for the win. Imagine Takuma Sato appearing in Japan for a one off race in the McLaren-Honda, or last year’s Le Mans victor Nick Tandy being given a one off go in a Williams at Silverstone… I suppose I can dream…

    1. The powers to be in F1 and IndyCar need to make this happen ongoing for the future. Also have to thank McLaren, Alonso and IndyCar for making this happen. It’s huge for motorsport.

  7. Unicron (@unicron2002)
    16th May 2017, 14:24

    Can’t believe Buddy Lazier is still entering, that name is a blast from the past. It’s like Jean Alesi or Damon Hill turning up on the entry list for another crack at the Monaco Grand Prix!

    1. @unicron2002 Just a shame he’s going to be in such an uncompetitive car again as its a shame to see somebody that was once so competitive & who won in such courageous circumstances (He had a broken back & was in a lot of pain, Struggled to get out of the car at the end) there to just make up the numbers miles off the pace with no shot at doing anything.

      It’s also a shame that it seems like it’s once again only 33 cars entered which means no bumping. Bump day always used to be a real tension filled & exciting day which at times was full of drama.

      1. Unicron (@unicron2002)
        16th May 2017, 15:14

        I totally forgot about the dramas of Bump Day! Good stuff.

      2. @stefmeister

        It’s also a shame that it seems like it’s once again only 33 cars entered which means no bumping. Bump day always used to be a real tension filled & exciting day which at times was full of drama.

        Indeed. There aren’t many races let where ‘qualifying’ means what it used to.

  8. Excellent article, @keithcollantine. I hadn’t realised there were so many Brits in the field.

    1. @nickwyatt Of course due to Alonso there’s one fewer: Stefan Wilson gave up his seat for him.

      1. Sadly no Jack Hawksworth this year. Anyone know what he’s up to this season?

        1. I think he is in the Lexus IMSA program.

  9. Hi everyone! I´m F1 fan since 2013 but i´m reading a lot about the category. The Alonso’s lasts years were very difficult because of Honda´s power deficit and thats why i support him on his desire. I’m excited to see him racing in another category other than F1. It was the same when Hulkenberg participated of Le Mans in 2015. It´s a pity can´t see Alonso on Monaco GP but we will see Jenson dust down the race suit once more.
    Excellent article @keithcollantine. Can I make a correction? You wrote Fernando Alonso (USA) But should not it be (SPA)?

  10. After this decision in which the pilot risks his prestige and physical integrity in one of the tracks where the danger is the daily bread, I feel much more respect for Fernando Alonso, I must be true in my words to say that before this news I considered the Spaniard a crybaby and a showboat.
    The strong bet is against the victory of Alonso and still Fernando is convinced to participate, respect to that.

    1. *driver, not pilot.

  11. BJ (@beejis60)
    16th May 2017, 17:11

    It’s a shame Simona never got a fair shake in Indycar; she did well in those few races a few years ago to at least warrant a full season IMO. But I guess indy is too much like F1 in that the talent that should be racing does not necessarily mean they are racing…

    1. Simona got 3rd place at the 2014 Houston GP Saturday race. I was there for that race. But if Indycars has one thing in common with F1, it’s paying drivers. Plus, she left for Sauber as “development driver” with the hope of getting some real seat time in a F1 car but it never happened.

  12. As an old timer who’s been following F1 and other series for 50+ years, I really miss the times when many of the great drivers would compete in several, often wildly different types of racing. Seeing legendary F1 champions like Jim Clark and Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart and many others win many races in sports cars, saloons and the Indy 500 was an awe inspiring sight. These days it might be hard for some folks to understand how exciting and significant it was when Lotus (with significant help from Ford) began it’s campaign to conquer Indy. When Clark won the 500 in 1965, along with total dominance of the F1 title, it was world wide *front page* news to a degree that’s hard to comprehend now.

    Of course it’s important to remember that back then, F1 only had 9 or 10 championship races (with a few addition non-title events) and the drivers only got paid a pittance. So money was part of the motivation for competing in many other series. I think Clark made more money winning the Indy 500 1965 than he did in all of his F1 races that season combined. But even when they were well off, they would often drive in races just for the sheer love of it.

  13. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    16th May 2017, 20:47

    The first 450 miles, Fernando’s toughest opponent will be himself. In F1 you have 4 or 5 top guys, then the mid fielders, then Lance Stroll in the rear ;) Fernando will have to deal with constant traffic and mistakes not of his doing which in F1 mostly only happens on the starts in turn 1. If he’s running top 15 with 30 laps to go, he might be drinking milk.

    1. He won’t. And then he’ll drift off into non-relevancy again. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt by his agent. Well done I say. Look how many people are adoring the ‘cross-pollination’ and watering down of F1 – the pinnacle of Motorsport. Once the dust settles from this marketing ploy, Alonso will settle in at the back of the pack – working on his next appearance in yet another competition outside of F1. Maybe an adult-diaper commercial even.

      1. Wow that’s quite an agent then to be able to pull everything together on both sides of the ocean just for a publicity stunt.

        Or…there’s reality.

  14. I guess that an ideal situation for Alonso would be to secure himself a starting spot on the pole day, not for the position itself, but because he would be able to focus solely on fixing the car for the race and gaining experience in the remaining practice days, without the pressure of setting a fast time.
    Of course, Andretti is a real top environment and he will be able to maximise his potential, but to win.. I just couldn’t see it happening, if not in extremely lucky (and unpredictable) situations.
    Repeat the performances of Kurt Busch in his 2014 attempt would be a huge achievement. Very, very tough.

  15. I like the name Pippa Mann.. it’s kind of ironic she isn’t a man though.

  16. Backmarker
    17th May 2017, 6:37

    I can’t wait to not watch the greatest driver since Schumacher turn left.

  17. Hopefully Fred will not die in this dangerous race. Pippa Mann being given this drive yearly with little to no seat time in any kind of race car seems very perilous as well .

    1. Mann and Alonso have entered a lottery, hoping that they will not be taken out by certain unprofessional types in their bid to compete fairly with other professionals in the sport that they all represent with their commitment. I give them 20 to 1 odds against serious contact. Pure science, of course. On the other hand, I gotta hand it to someone like Sage Karam, he’s back on the horse, and hopefully a bit wiser for being kicked in the head by it.

  18. I expect Montoya to be hungrier than ever this year. A chance for him to measure up to Alonso will certainly awake his competitive spirit. I can’t wait for the radio chatter, this qualy weekend and next! The closer it gets to race time, the more that I see Alonso’s involvement will really help the Indycar series, because it’s broadcast style (Maybe Paul Tracy will be commentating, always fun) is already very good, and would benefit from a future commercial free format, like the one that F1 has perfected (with it’s constant commercial exposure on screen). Hey World, welcome to Indycar!
    As a fan, I’ve got a hunch that Hinch has got it clinched.

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