Abiteboul ‘hardly breathing’ with Alonso’s Indy run

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso’s 2021 boss, Cyril Abiteboul, says he is “hardly breathing” as he waits for the Spaniard to complete his Indianapolis 500 bid.

This month Alonso is once again vying for the Indianapolis 500 title, making a third attempt at winning at the Brickyard.

His 2017 effort ended with a Honda engine failure while last year he wasn’t able to qualify while racing for McLaren.

This year he is once again with McLaren, joining the team and its two full-time drivers, Oliver Askew and Patrick O’Ward, in a three-car entry.

Alonso’s time at the Brickyard, though, didn’t get off to the best of starts with the Spaniard putting his car into the wall on Thursday.

He walked away unhurt but that did little to comfort his 2021 Formula 1 boss, Renault’s Abiteboul.

“The very straightforward answer is I’m hardly breathing until next weekend that he is stepping out of his racing car from Indianapolis,” said the Frenchman.

Abiteboul revealed that he has also made it known to Alonso that while McLaren was willing to allow him to step away from his F1 duties to try his hand at IndyCars, Renault won’t adopt the same policy.

“I can be very clear that once he is with us that is for good and for a while, so no distraction,” he explained.

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Alonso was the first driver to crash in practice for this year’s Indianapolis 500, putting his No66 Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet into the SAFER barrier at Turn 4 on Thursday.

He returned to the track on ‘Fast Friday’, finishing 25th of the 33 entries.

Alonso revealed earlier this week that this August’s Indianapolis 500 will be his last visit to the Brickyard for at least two years.

Not only will he not be able to team up with McLaren while working as a Renault driver but he understands his F1 commitments to the Enstone team will have to come first.

“It’s a good question. I think I approaching the race as you said, knowing that the next two years it’s going to be impossible to come,” he told The-Race.

“I would have to miss qualifying weekend if I wanted to [do the Indy 500 and Monaco].

“I will not be with McLaren anymore next year in F1, so that will not work either.

“So I know that at least for two years that I will not be here.

“This is the way it is at the moment.

“I’m here, ready to enjoy the event, ready to give my best and help the team as much as I can and we’ll see in the future what are the possibilities and if eventually we won one day the race, maybe that opens the possibility for different things.”

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