Some are calling this the best kept secret in racing, and considering how easy things escape lips with a tweet here or there, I would have to agree. First of all, it is almost unheard of that a contracted Formula 1 driver would be allowed to miss a race as important as Monaco to go race in a different series, and second who would expect that Andretti Autosport would add a car to their already full line up. Michael Andretti had already announced England’s Jack Harvey would be the team’s fifth driver in the Indianapolis 500. Harvey, a rookie from the Indy Lights Series, will now move over to a sixth car that will be fielded jointly by Andretti Autosport and sports-car team owner Mike Shank.
These were the main players that helped make this happen: Zak Brown, executive director of McLaren Technology Group, Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, the overall head of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Honda Performance Development President Art St. Cyr and IndyCar team owner Michael Andretti.
Miles credited Alonso, Andretti and Brown for assembling the deal. Brown called Alonso “the best racing driver in the world.”
“Could Fernando win this year’s Indy 500? Well, I wouldn’t be so silly as to make any such rash prediction, but I expect him to be in the mix,” Brown said. “Put it this way: The team he’ll be racing for won the race last year, using the same Honda engine, and he’s the best racing driver in the world. That’s quite a compelling combination.”
I guess we will have to wait until May to find out if this is a gamble that will pay off for all involved, although just the publicity and the pull for Formula 1 fans to watch what happens in this IndyCar race might be more than enough.