CROSS OVERS A BOOST FOR RAC­ING

Alonso says Indy 500 and Formula One can work to­gether

New Straits Times - - Sport -

TWO-TIME world cham­pion Fer­nando Alonso said his rac­ing in Sun­day’s Indy 500 spurred great in­ter­est in Spain and that other Formula One driv­ers cross­ing over would ben­e­fit both US rac­ing and Formula One.

“I think Formula One needs North Amer­ica and maybe North Amer­ica needs more of Formula One than what we cur­rently have,” Alonso said on Tues­day.

“I think its a win-win sit­u­a­tion,” the Spa­niard said about the po­ten­tial im­pact of more F1 driv­ers fol­low­ing his ex­am­ple and cross­ing over be­tween the cir­cuits.

Alonso said he un­der­stood that in­ter­est back home in the Indy 500 had spiked by 800 per cent.

“For the fans, from what I see now in Spain and Europe, it is amaz­ing the in­ter­est in the Indy 500 this year com­pared to any other year,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one in Spain, they are wait­ing for May 28 to watch the race. I re­ceived many mes­sages from fans in so­cial me­dia say­ing, ‘thanks for show­ing us this race be­cause I never watched it be­fore and I ab­so­lutely love it.’“

Alonso also be­lieves US fans will be­come more in­trigued by Formula One as they get to know those driv­ers.

“Hope­fully from now on the in­ter­est in Formula One in the US will be grow­ing,” he said. “We have new own­ers of Formula One, (U.S.-based) Lib­erty Me­dia, and I think they have some good plans to build in­ter­est here.”

Alonso de­cided to skip this week’s Monaco Grand Prix, which he has won twice, to try and add the Indy 500 as his sec­ond leg to a rare Triple Crown of Mo­tor­sport.

The Spa­niard hopes to emu­late Gra­ham Hill, who in 1972 be­came the first to com­plete the Formula One cham­pi­onship, Indy and Le Mans 24 Hours col­lec­tion of ti­tles.

“The Triple Crown, I think that’s the ul­ti­mate goal of any rac­ing driver,” said Alonso. “Only one man has achieved that in mo­tor sports and that shows how dif­fi­cult it is to do that.”

Alonso said he ex­pects no prob­lem ad­just­ing back to Formula One af­ter his Indy so­journ.

“My skills, and my driv­ing tech­niques are de­vel­oped in Formula One cars. I think when I get back there it will be an im­me­di­ate adap­ta­tion.”

With his con­tract up af­ter this sea­son with the poorly per­form­ing McLaren-Honda team, Alonso re­mained tight-lipped about his fu­ture.

“Af­ter the sum­mer I will con­sider what are the op­tions out there,” he said. Reuters

I think Formula One needs North Amer­ica and maybe North Amer­ica needs more of Formula One than what we cur­rently have.

FER­NANDO ALONSO

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