AUSTIN, Texas — Fernando Alonso hinted that he could return to race the Indianapolis 500 again in 2019 after he retires from Formula One.
The McLaren driver raced at Indianapolis in 2017. He led 27 laps and was in contention to win until his engine failed in an appearance that made a splash with race fans. He skipped the race this year to be part of the winning team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The two-time Formula One champion spoke Thursday ahead of this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix. He said racing Indianapolis remained an “attractive” idea but said he’s not ready to reveal his 2019 plans yet.
MORE: McLaren won’t run IndyCar team in 2019, but could still do Indy 500.
Alonso said any driver from a different series who would consider racing the Indy 500 would have a lot to think about. Testing the car on an oval track wore him out physically, he said.
“They need to commit to the race,” Alonso said. “I think if they just want to do a test they will never do the race after testing the car, because it feels quite bad. The car is self-steering to the left, you go on the straights and you are turning right and it feels very weird to drive the car.
“But then in the race it is just a different thing. You wake up your competitive instinct and you forget about all these weird things that those cars have and it’s a lot of fun. It’s part of history,” Alonso said.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo suggested he’d rather watch Alonso.
“Ovals creep me out a little bit. I won’t lie,” Ricciardo said. “It was cool watching Fernando do it.”
COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Defending champion Sebastien Ogier goes into this weekend’s Rally Australia with a chance to clinch his sixth World Rally Championship in a row. Thierry Neuville, a runner-up four times but never a champion, hopes to change the world order.
Neuville led the series for much of the season but Ogier’s win in Britain and a second place in Spain has given the Frenchman 204 points, three ahead of Neuville, heading into the final rally of the championship.
“We are not the best friends but we are rivals and respect each other for our performances,” Neuville said Wednesday. “I’ve been second many times in the championship now, we are so close to the main goal.”
“If we need to take more risks because we need to pass Sebastien we’re going to try,” the Belgian driver added, “we’ll take the maximum risks.”
Ogier says the feeling is mutual when it comes to his main rival.
“We are different, definitely, but most important we’re in a great fight together and respect each other for that,” Ogier said. “It’s about trying to beat each other and do it with respect.”
Ott Tanak of Estonia sits 23 points behind and with 30 points for a win in Australia, and other results going his way, he could also capture the world title.
Ogier will be hoping for some Friday morning rain to settle the dust and gravel before he sets off first on what will be more than 300 kilometers (180 miles) of timed racing through forests on the New South Wales state’s north coast, about 530 kilometers (325 miles) north of Sydney.
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