Motorsport: Auto-Alpine racing set to keep Alonso’s triple crown dream alive
LONDON (Reuters) – Renault-owned Alpine could one day help Fernando Alonso fulfill his dream of winning the Indianapolis 500 to complete the Triple Crown of motorsport, according to company boss Laurent Rossi.
The Frenchman – a big fan of the 40-year-old Spaniard – told Reuters the sports car brand had discussed potential plans, even so far down the road, with the two-time Formula 1 world champion.
“It could be something we would consider, especially if Fernando retires (from F1) and the timing is right and we have a car,” Rossi said of Indianapolis after mentioning the Triple Crown.
“We could do it, we could do it. And we would look at it with a very careful eye because we owe a lot to Fernando and that would be good for the brand as well.
“Even though we are not necessarily present in these (American) markets, it is still something good for the brand.”
Alpine, now the umbrella of all Renault racing activities, was at Le Mans this year with a rebadged car and decides to fully engage in endurance racing.
This could be with a Hypercar in the Le Mans LMH class or under the LMDh rules of NASCAR IMSA when there is convergence from 2023.
“LMDh now allows us to race in IMSA and so it might be interesting to choose this path for Fernando, who is a seasoned endurance rider, to strengthen our already strong team,” said Rossi of what the the future may hold in store for us.
Alonso, who has twice won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix, said last week when extending his Alpine contract for 2022 that Indianapolis would still be on his wishlist.
A victory in 500 would only make him the second driver, after the late Briton Graham Hill, to win the F1 or Monaco title with Le Mans and Indianapolis.
Alonso made his The Brickyard debut in 2017 with the support of McLaren, his then Formula 1 employer, in an Andretti Autosport car.
Alpine already has an IndyCar connection with the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team who provided a car for Danish academy driver Christian Lundgaard during a race in Indianapolis this month.
Rossi said Alonso, who won his F1 titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and made a comeback this year after two seasons off, has been fantastic to work with and a true professional.
“I would love to have 20 people like him demanding excellence and delivering performance in return,” he said.
Alonso finished fourth in Hungary in August, fending off seven-time Mercedes world champion Lewis Hamilton for 11 laps, and Rossi said the Spaniard has shown he is still one of the best and can keep going. some time.
“The guy is a true legend of the game. If he plays that way next year, it will be almost a professional mistake for me not to continue with him,” he said.
“Why wouldn’t I consider that? It’s a luxury for me to have Fernando Alonso at this level of performance.”
Alpine is fifth in the overall constructors’ standings but Esteban Ocon won in Hungary and new optimism is felt.
Rossi said the current car has reached a plateau, but the team has learned from its mistakes and is ready for a new era from 2022. The plan remains to be able to fight for the title of by 2024.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)