Nico Hulkenberg is surprised by Fernando Alonso’s decision to skip the Monaco Grand Prix so he can enter the 101st Indianapolis 500 next month, believing it is “completely different” to his own shot at Le Mans two years ago.
Alonso announced on Wednesday that he would be racing in this year’s Indy 500, bailing on the Formula 1 race in Monaco so he can pilot the McLaren-Honda-Andretti entry at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Hulkenberg was the last F1 driver to cross codes, entering the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche in 2015 as part of its third-car line-up in the LMP1 class.
Alongside Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, Hulkenberg claimed an unlikely victory in the 24-hour race, becoming the first current F1 driver to win at Le Mans since 1991.
Comparisons have been drawn following Alonso’s announcement, but Hulkenberg said it was different as his Porsche duties never impacted on his work in F1 with Force India.
“My case was completely different. I didn’t go away from F1 in the way he is,” Hulkenberg said on Thursday in Bahrain, as quoted by crash.net.
“I would have never done it if I had to miss a race for it, especially Monaco. A big decision and big news obviously and he can do what he wants.
“I am a bit surprised like everybody about this situation.”
Hulkenberg also said that Alonso’s run in the ‘500 will be a challenge given he will have just 10 days of running prior to the race to get to grips with the new style of car he will be racing.
“I think it is quite tough. I don’t know much about Indy but he has never driven these cars or an oval, so do you think you can come in and win that easily?” Hulkenberg questioned.
“I at least had half a year practice [for Le Mans]. It sounds like a challenge but obviously Fernando likes challenges.”