Michael Andretti says his team couldn’t provide Fernando Alonso with a car for the Indy 500, but the team owner believes the Spaniard will be running at the Brickyard come the month of May.
Alonso was expected to take his third shot at the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport, the team that fielded the former F1 driver for his maiden participation in the blue riband event in 2017.
But it is believed that Honda – Andretti’s engine supplier – vetoed Alonso’s presence, with the Japanese manufacturer still reeling from the latter’s incessant criticism of its engines during its ill-fated partnership with McLaren between 2017 and 2017.
Andretti shied away from discussing the rumors of Honda’s stance but insisted Alonso had other options at his disposal.
“You’re always working two deals at once, cause you never know which one is going to come through,” he told the IndyStar last week, after welcoming James Hinchcliffe back to his team for a three-race programme.
“We worked hard to get Fernando, but in the end, we couldn’t come to terms, and he ended up getting something he felt that could be a better fit for him and went that way.
“Don’t believe everything you’ve been reading.”
Top Chevy-powered teams such as Penske and Carpenter Racing have no seats available to accommodate Alonso, while smaller outfits are unlikely to be of much interest to the 38-year-old.
Therefore, Alonso’s limited options might compel him to return to square one, or Arrow McLaren SP. And that opportunity of last resort isn’t being dismissed by McLaren boss Zak Brown
“We want to make sure anything we do, we do it to be competitive,” Brown said.
“We’ve got two young drivers [Oliver Askew and Patricio O’Ward], and they’re our priority, so we need to make sure if we run a third car, it’s complementary and helping us with our bigger agenda.
“We won’t have a third car simply for the sake of having one.
“(Alonso) wasn’t previously on our list, but now he is. He’s obviously a mega-star and an immense talent that has already done one Indy 500, so it all goes back to making sure what we do is good for our two young guys.”