Fernando Alonso took part in an IndyCar test at Barber Motorsports Park on Wednesday as he weighs up whether to commit to the American racing series full-time next season.
Alonso raced at the Indy 500 last year and has confirmed he will quit Formula One at the end of this year to pursue other goals in motorsport. He is already committed to the World Endurance Championship’s super season with Toyota, which runs until June next year, but is considering racing in IndyCar as well.
The test was Alonso’s first taste of an IndyCar on a road circuit and the car was supplied by Andretti Autosport — the same team that partnered with McLaren for Alonso’s one-off entry to the 2017 Indy 500. Alonso said he had been looking forward to the test, but did not hint at whether it would lead to a full-time drive next year.
“It was something that I was looking for last year already and I had some options to test the car on a road course after the Indy 500,” he said. “We didn’t find the time but this year it’s definitely happened now and I’m happy for this. I love being behind a steering wheel, and definitely a new car, a new experience, learning a lot of things from the team, the engineers, everyone, so a happy day.
“I love to test new cars and to test the IndyCar on a road course is something special. I’ve been lucky enough to test it in wet conditions, in intermediate conditions and in dry conditions, so overall I had a good feeling on every type of track. The weather was good for us today — a little bit of wind in the afternoon but overall a positive day.”
McLaren is currently deciding whether to enter IndyCar next year, most likely with the support of another team like Andretti Autosport. Speaking over the Italian Grand Prix weekend, McLaren CEO Zak Brown said the team had three options open to it next year.
“I think we’ll make a decision sometime this month on whether we push forward with just the Indy 500, [a full series in] IndyCar or doing nothing,” Brown said. “Ultimately [those are the] three decisions we need to make in September.”
Alonso’s ambitions centre around completing motorsport’s triple crown, which includes victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. He said he faces the same choice as McLaren in how he attempts to achieve his goal, but as of last weekend had not made a final decision.
“It’s the same for me, I could do the full series, I could do one race or I could do nothing. I will study all three possibilities.”