Earlier, news broke that Fernando Alonso will attempt the Indy 500 for the third time, this time with Arrow McLaren SP. Interestingly, McLaren CEO Zak Brown revealed that Alonso had talked to Andretti Autosport before approaching Arrow McLaren. Unfortunately, those talks fell flat, so Arrow McLaren stepped in to snap up the Spaniard.
Alonso debuted in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport in 2017, and was in a good position before he retired with an issue. In 2019, he just missed out of qualifying for the iconic race. That year, he gave up his McLaren ambassadorial role and tried to negotiate with Andretti.
The bad news for him was that Andretti Autosport have tied with Honda, who are still a bit sore from his criticism. Furthermore, he took two Le Mans 24 Hour wins and a World Endurance Championship for Toyota. Obviously, Honda did not want to work with someone who openly criticised them and was a turncoat.
With Andretti Autosport refusing to play ball, Fernando Alonso trotted back to McLaren. The Woking team were glad to have him back, and they can now offer him a potential race-winning ride. This is because McLaren have partnered the Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and now run Chevrolet engines.
However, Alonso’s primary IndyCat sponsor will be Ruoff Mortgage. The company previously backed Andretti Autosport, but have now thrown their weight behind the 38-year old Spaniard.
Speaking to Motorsport.com about the deal, Brown explained: “Obviously [Ruoff] are a partner of Michael [Andretti] and Michael’s a friend of mine, and a partner in Australia [the Walkinshaw Andretti United Autosports team in Supercars], and as I guess he was having his conversations with Fernando, Ruoff was looking for something with big impact and exposure.”
What else did the McLaren CEO say about Alonso?
Zak Brown assured that Alonso is open to teaming up with the Arrow McLaren SP newcomers, Oliver Askew and Patricio O’Ward. Brown is aware that Alonso is fond of competitive teammates and likes to have a challenge on his hands. Furthermore, 2003 Indy winner and two-time CART Indy car champion Gil de Ferran could help the drivers.
“I like the fact that we’ve got Gil de Ferran on our side as well,” said co-owner Sam Schmidt. “I think Gil brings a wealth of knowledge and a little bit of experience in winning!”