Fernando Alonso says his compatriot Alex Palou is a shining example of how Formula 1 is not the be all and end all of a racing career.
Palou did not have a stellar junior career by any means on the ladder to Formula 1, scoring only five points from four starts in the Formula 2 Championship back in 2017. In Formula 3, his best Championship finish was P7 the following year.
But since switching his focus to IndyCar, the Spaniard’s stock has skyrocketed.
With 10 races gone in the 2021 IndyCar season, Palou has established himself as the shock overall leader with two wins and a further five podiums to his name. If he was to claim the title, then it would make Palou the first Spanish driver to do so.
And Alonso heaped praise on Palou, calling him a “phenomenon” who is proof of life outside of Formula 1 for a racing driver.
“Yes, yes, of course I follow him and the truth is that he is a phenomenon,” said Alonso of Palou, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“This year I see him becoming champion, because he is the most consistent, the best and I am very happy, because having a young Spaniard who is succeeding in IndyCar I think is good for everyone and opens eyes a little bit to new generations as well.
“F1 is all very well, but it only has 20 drivers from all over the world and not everyone can get there. IndyCar is fantastic, as is the WEC [World Endurance Championship]… there is a lot of racing that is not F1.
“It’s okay for youngsters to dream of F1, but if they don’t make it – it can’t be a frustrating dream. What Alex is doing I think can have repercussions beyond his title or wins.”
Alonso himself knows all about exploring options outside of Formula 1, having left at the end of the 2018 season to pursue other ventures like Le Mans, WEC, the Indy500 and the Dakar Rally.