Alonso confirms absence from 2018 Indy 500 due to Monaco F1 clash

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Fernando Alonso has confirmed he will not return to the Indianapolis 500 in 2018 after signing a new Formula 1 contract with McLaren, committing himself to racing in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Alonso entered the 101st Indy 500 in May as part of his bid to become the second driver in history to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, with McLaren allowing him to skip Monaco due to its ailing fortunes on-track.

Alonso offered the biggest story of this year’s ‘500, racing for a joint McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport entry that saw him qualify fifth and run at the front early on before ultimately retiring due to an engine failure.

The Spaniard had previously said it was unlikely he would return to the race in 2018 if he were to re-sign with McLaren in F1, assuming if he did the team would be fighting further up the field, thus making missing Monaco more costly.

With his new McLaren deal for 2018 being announced on Thursday ahead of the United States Grand Prix, Alonso confirmed he would take no part in the 102nd Indy 500 next May due to the clash with Monaco.

“With the new McLaren deal for next year, I can confirm that I will not be in the Indy 500 next year, because there is Monaco Grand Prix at the same weekend and the priority next year will be to perform well in Formula 1,” Alonso said.

“But at the same time, I can confirm that I will be in the Indy 500 in the future.

“I don’t know if it will be 2019, or 2020 or whatever, but it’s a race that I definitely will do again.”

Alonso stressed that while he remains eager to win the Triple Crown by adding Le Mans and Indy 500 wins to his Monaco victories, F1 is still his priority for the time being.

“We have enough to do for next year to put McLaren again at the top of the grid. That’s the first priority right now,” Alonso said.

“On my personal side, there are no other priorities than Formula 1 at the moment, but with a door open for different series and different goals.

“I always believe you need to win in other series if you want to be a more complete driver and a better driver, because motorsport is not only Formula 1 only.

“Even if it’s still the priority, we’ll see what the future brings.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.