Fernando Alonso’s Triple Crown Dream

By The Way - Weekly Columns

ByTheMinF1

Fernando Alonso has always been regarded as one of the best drivers the sport has ever seen. Approaching his 16th season and his fourth season since rejoining McLaren, the Spaniard’s passion for F1 and motor sport in general has never been higher.

After a career which includes two stints at Renault and McLaren at various points as well as a five-year stint at Ferrari, Alonso’s race starts are none short of 300 and he has two World Drivers Crowns to his name.. so far.

Alonso has always said that a third F1 title is his main priority but whilst that seems unlikely given the superior power of Mercedes and Ferrari in 2017 and probably in 2018, Alonso has set his sights on ‘extra curricular’ races and series.

Graham Hill, Damon’s father is the only man to have completed motorsports’ coveted ‘Triple Crown’. The Triple Crown is when a driver has won the Monaco Grand Prix, The Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours at Le Mans.

One of those can be ticked off already - Monaco. Not only has Alonso won in the principality, he’s done it with two different teams in consecutive seasons (Renault in 2006 and McLaren in 2007) while also finishing a close second with Ferrari in 2011.

The Spanish ace has also had a go at the Indy 500, of course. In a McLaren-Honda-Andretti car powered by Honda, Alonso was at the front of the race for the majority of the running only to see his chance of winning, go up in smoke; a lot like his Honda engine.

In late 2017, Alonso signed up to do the Daytona 24 Hour race in the US. Couple that with the rumours and then proof of a test with Toyota and it was obvious that Alonso was looking at Le Mans - rather than another shot at Indy - as his next target.

Strangely, thanks to the way the World Endurance Championship’s calendar has turned out, Alonso gets two shots at the famous 24 Hour race inside the same ‘super season’. Another positive, perhaps, is that the Endurance Championship and the F1 calendars run almost parallel to each other.

In fact, in an edit to the original post, it emerged that the only round of the WEC (Fuji, Japan) that clashed with an F1 race (Austin, USGP) has been moved especially for Alonso which I think sets a very dangerous precedent indeed. And will no doubt upset a fair few drivers.

At 36 years of age, Alonso is without doubt in the twilight of his career. He may only get one more F1 season, he may only get two more shots at Le Mans and one more shot at Indy in the next couple years if he wants to achieve everything he wants to before he’s 40.